A shipment of 5,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine designated for Palestinian health workers in the West Bank and Gaza has been delayed for technical reasons.
The shipment was expected to arrive this weekend via Jordan, but now the date of the shipment's arrival is unclear.
The delay is not connected to Israel, which facilitates the movement of goods and people in and out of the West Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority informed Israel of the delay.
On Thursday, the government issued a statement on the matter explaining that the Palestinian Authority has committed to reserve the vaccines solely for the use of health workers in Gaza and the West Bank.
The government added that the PA has not requested that the vaccine doses be transferred to Gaza. It spoke about the matter in response to a High Court of Justice petition by Leah and Simcha Goldin, who seek to block the transfer of people and goods including coronavirus vaccines to and from Gaza, beyond the minimum requirement of international law.
Hamas is holding the body of their son, Hadar, and that of Oron Shaul, both of whom were killed during the 2014 Gaza War while serving in the IDF. Hamas is also holding Israeli two civilians, believe to be alive, who entered Gaza after the war. Abera Mengistu went into Gaza in September 2014 and Hisham al-Sayed entered in 2015.
Leah and Simcha Goldin believe that the vaccines and other aid to Gaza should be linked to the release of the bodies and the captives. They are also concerned that Hamas terrorists could receive the vaccine.
Israel has been criticized for not proactively offering COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, whose health care is under the auspices of the PA health care system.
The PA has said Israel has a responsibility to provide it with vaccines, but it's unclear if it has requested vaccines from Israel. The PA has made contradictory statements on the matter.
The PA has sought vaccines elsewhere and it has signed contracts with four companies, but to date no shipments have arrived.
Israel has vaccinated close to 2.5 million of its citizens, with close to a million having received a second dose.
Lahav Harkov and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.