republicworld– The Palestinian Authority on Friday called off an agreement whereby Israel would transfer 1 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to it in exchange for a similar number later this year.
The Palestinian Authority says the doses, which Israel began shipping to the occupied West Bank on Friday, are too close to expiring.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Ibrahim Milhim, Palestinian government spokesman said Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh had instructed health minister Mai Alkaila to cancel the agreement and return the vaccines to Israel.
Alkaila said “After the technical teams received the first quantity this evening and inspected it, it was found that it didn’t conform to the technical specifications that had been previously agreed.”
Palestinian officials had come under heavy criticism on social media after the agreement was announced earlier on Friday, with Palestinians accusing them of accepting sub par vaccines and suggesting they might not be effective.
In announcing the agreement, Israel said the vaccines “will expire soon” without specifying the date.
There was no immediate comment from Israel, which had mostly shut down for the weekly Sabbath.
So far, about 380,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and 50,000 in Gaza have been vaccinated.
More than 300,000 infections have been recorded in the two territories and 3,545 confirmed deaths.