בני גנץ עם בנימין נתניהו
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz
Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz

Gantz moves to halt plan to share virus vaccines with allies

Defense minister slams PM for acting without transparency, demands matter be approved in cabinet; Bernie Sanders says it is 'outrageous' Netanyahu would use spare jabs to reward foreign allies instead of inoculating Palestinians

Associated Press |
Published: 02.25.21 , 16:52
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday called for an immediate halt in plans to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to a group of allied nations, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of acting without oversight or transparency.
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  • In a letter to the prime minister, Gantz said the decision to share vaccines was taken without “discussions in the relevant forums.” He also questioned Netanyahu’s claims that Israel has surplus vaccines to give away.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    בני גנץ עם בנימין נתניהו
    בני גנץ עם בנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz
    (Photo: AFP)
    “We are talking about a significant diplomatic and security decision, and in accordance with that, it needs to be approved according to procedures established by law,” Gantz said.
    Gantz demanded the matter be taken up by the country’s security cabinet.
    There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu’s office.
    Gantz and Netanyahu are fierce rivals who battled to stalemates in three consecutive elections before agreeing last year to form an emergency government. Their power-sharing arrangement quickly unraveled, and the country is heading to its fourth election in two years next month.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    בנימין נתניהו ויולי אדלשטיין במכבי רמלה
    בנימין נתניהו ויולי אדלשטיין במכבי רמלה
    Netanyahu at a vaccine clinic in Ramle
    (Photo: Flash 90)
    On Wednesday, Netanyahu announced that he had personally decided to send surplus vaccines to a series of diplomatic allies.
    Netanyahu's office has not said where the vaccines are being sent. A list obtained by an Israeli TV station included a number of nations that have supported Israel's claim to Jerusalem, including Honduras, Guatemala and the Czech Republic. African countries with close or budding relations with Israel also appeared, including Chad, Mauritania, Uganda and Kenya.
    The new policy drew renewed criticism of Israel’s reluctance to share significant quantities of its vast stockpile of vaccines with the Palestinians.
    Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, however, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the healthcare of its own population and has repeatedly said it is obtaining its own vaccines via a UN scheme as well as Russia and China.
    “As the occupying power, Israel is responsible for the health of all the people under its control,” tweeted U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. “It is outrageous that Netanyahu would use spare vaccines to reward his foreign allies while so many Palestinians in the occupied territories are still waiting.”
    They also illustrated how at a time of global shortages, the vaccine has become an asset that can be used for diplomatic gain.

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