Friday, February 26, 2021

Rival of Palestinian president delivers vaccines to Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A cargo of coronavirus vaccines organized by a rival of President Mahmoud Abbas arrived within the Gaza Strip on Sunday, giving a elevate to the blockaded territory’s vaccination efforts and embarrassing the Palestinian chief forward of nationwide elections.

The 20,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V, donated by the United Arab Emirates and arranged by Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan, entered the Palestinian enclave by means of its border with Egypt. A container truck with an enormous banner of Emirati leaders and a thank-you message handed by means of Rafah crossing level within the southern Gaza Strip.

The supply got here days after the West Financial institution-based Palestinian Authority, chaired by Abbas, managed to ship solely 2,000 doses of the identical vaccine sort to Gaza through Israel, which had delayed the cargo for a couple of days. Sunday’s supply gave the impression to be aimed partly at making Abbas’ authorities seem ineffective.

Dahlan, a former senior member of Abbas’ Fatah occasion, has been residing in exile in Abu Dhabi since a falling out with the Palestinian chief in 2011.

Gaza has been dominated by the Islamic militant group Hamas since 2007, when it seized management of the territory from Abbas’ forces.

Collectively, the vaccines are sufficient for 11,000 folks, a tiny fraction of Gaza’s 2 million folks. The Hamas-run Well being Ministry mentioned the vaccination drive will start Monday with frontline medical staff and “honorary dignitaries.”

It estimated that Gaza wants 2.6 million doses to inoculate folks 16 and older.

Dahlan, a former safety chief from Abbas’ Fatah occasion, was pressured to flee Gaza in the course of the 2007 Hamas takeover. However lately, he has mended ties with the group because of their shared animosity towards Abbas.

The Palestinians plan to carry what can be their first parliamentary elections in 15 years in Could. The vaccine deliveries are probably to enhance the standing of Dahlan and his Fatah splinter group, known as the Democratic Reform Bloc, within the vote.

Abbas has blocked Dahlan from operating within the polls, however his group members are planning to compete, positioning them as a attainable kingmaker within the election between Hamas and Fatah.

Gaza’s well being authorities have reported greater than 54,000 coronavirus infections and 543 deaths.

Israel has confronted worldwide criticism for largely excluding Palestinians within the occupied West Financial institution and Gaza from its extremely profitable vaccination marketing campaign.

Rights teams say it has an obligation as an occupying energy to share its vaccines with the Palestinians. Israel captured east Jerusalem, the West Financial institution and Gaza within the 1967 battle, territories the Palestinians need for his or her future state.

Israel denies having such an obligation and says its precedence are its personal residents, in addition to Palestinians in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. It says the Palestinian Authority is answerable for well being care within the territories it administers based on interim peace agreements.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, however has maintained a blockade with Egypt over the territory in an effort it says is supposed to forestall Hamas from arming.

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