Palestinians: We didn't ask Israel for COVID-19 vaccine

The PA, with the help of the World Health Organization, has managed to secure the vaccine from other sources.

Vaccine (illustrative) (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Vaccine (illustrative)
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Palestinians have not approached Israel for help in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines and are planning to purchase them on their own with the help of the international community, Palestinian and Israeli officials said on Sunday.
A senior official with the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health said that the Palestinians do not expect Israel to sell them, or purchase on their behalf, the vaccine from any country.
The official told The Jerusalem Post that the Palestinians will soon receive nearly four million Russian-made vaccines against COVID-19.
The PA, with the help of the World Health Organization, has managed to secure the vaccine from other sources, the official added, without elaborating.
Another PA Ministry of Health official said that he expected vaccinations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to begin next month. He, too, clarified that the PA has not asked Israel to supply the Palestinians with the vaccine. “We are working on our own to obtain the vaccine from a number of sources,” the official added. “We are not a department in the Israeli Defense Ministry. We have our own government and Ministry of Health, and they are making huge efforts to get the vaccine.”
Last week, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that the Palestinians were working hard to obtain the vaccine against COVID-19 from a number of sources, including Russia, the US, China and Britain.
Some “friendly” countries have promised to help the Palestinians in their effort to get the vaccine, he said.
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Shtayyeh, however, noted that it would take months before the Palestinians receive all the vaccines they need.
"Israel is willing to assist the Palestinians, but first it needs to create dialogue with them," an Israeli Defense Ministry official said. "Until now, unfortunately, this dialogue has not happened. We are still waiting for the Palestinian Authority to engage us on this matter.”
The Israeli official pointed out that in the last few months, Israel has been "working shoulder-to-shoulder with the international community, especially the UN, to assist the Palestinians in their effort to stem the spread of COVID-19."
In recent days, PA officials have made statements regarding the purchases of vaccines. They have claimed that the PA reached out to different companies that are currently in an advanced process of developing vaccines. The PA Health Ministry has announced the potential purchasing of four million Russian vaccines. The vaccines will reach the PA only after being examined and approved by the Israeli Health Ministry. 
Since the resumption of security and civil coordination with the PA, Israel has been encouraging the Palestinians, by messages conveyed by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, that as part of the dealing with the implications of COVID-19, the PA, the party in charge of the morbidity level, should contact these companies and purchase the vaccines for the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, using international assistance if required.