The PNA initially intended to deliver 2,000 of the 10,000 doses of Sputnik vaccine donated by Russia, but the Israeli state delayed the shipments

Israel authorises first vaccine shipments to Gaza that it had been blockading

photo_camera AP/KHALIL HAMRA - Border crossing south of the Gaza Strip.

Israel on Wednesday allowed the shipment of the first 1,000 doses of vaccine against the coronavirus that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) sent to the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, which had been blocked since Monday.  

"The delivery of the vaccines is on its way to the Strip," an Israeli security source confirmed to Efe about the transfer of the vaccines between the two territorially separate Palestinian areas whose borders Israel controls.  

The West Bank-based PNA initially intended to deliver 2,000 of the 10,000 doses of Sputnik, donated by Russia, but Israel delayed the permits, while Israeli MPs demanded that the delivery be conditional on the return of two civilians and the bodies of two soldiers held in the Strip.  

Local organisations condemned Israel's making the "blockade of humanitarian access" conditional on "political" decisions and described the delay as "collective punishment".  

The vaccines are scheduled to be administered to health workers in the coastal enclave, which has been under the de facto control of the Islamist movement, Hamas, since 2007 when the Israeli blockade began.  

The new UN Middle East envoy, Tor Wennesland, had previously called on the Israeli government to contribute to the campaign to vaccinate the Palestinian population under occupation "in line with its obligations under international law".  

Palestinian authorities in the West Bank have so far received 2,000 doses from Israel to vaccinate medical workers and Gaza is due to receive the first consignment of vaccines today.  

In addition, the PNA is expecting another 37,000 doses of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) free COVAX mechanism, which should arrive in the coming weeks, and has also announced an agreement with the UK's AstraZeneca to receive two million more. 

More in Politics
Yahya Sinwar, jefe de Hamas en la Franja de Gaza- MAJDI FATHI / NurPhoto / NurPhoto vía AFP
Israel denies that the Hamas leader in Gaza has escaped to Egypt via a tunnel, as claimed by Arab media. A picture of an arrested man who looks very similar to Sinwar has also been circulating in recent hours

Where is Yahya Sinwar?

Tinduf - PHOTO/FILE
Algiers never expected such a blow from US Ambassador Elizabeth Moore Aubin. Just as she was posing for a souvenir photo with Supreme Court justices at the end of a visit she had just made to their institution, the US embassy issued a communiqu茅 dissuading Westerners from travelling to Tindouf because of terrorism

US, Spain and UK warn their nationals wishing to visit Tindouf

Las princesas Lalla Meryem, Lalla Asmae y Lalla Hasnaa fueron recibidas por Brigitte Macron en Francia
Princesses Lalla Meryem, Lalla Asmae and Lalla Hasnaa were received by the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron and the French ambassador urged to clarify the issue of Western Sahara, which still separates the two nations

France and its closer ties with Morocco