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Syria Receives COVID-19 Vaccines from Undetermined Source, Sparking Misguided Criticism of Israel

Syria announced its receipt of COVID-19 vaccines Thursday from an undisclosed party, which will allow healthcare workers to begin receiving vaccinations as early as next week, marking a celebratory moment in the country’s fight against the virus that has rapidly transformed into the latest misguided attack on Israel.

Syria called the source a “friendly country” but gave no further details about how many vaccines were provided or who financed them.

Many reports speculate that Israel is the undefined source and is supplying Syria with Russian-made COVID-19 vaccines as part of a hostage swap negotiation that took place Friday.

None of the parties thought to be involved have confirmed the reports.

These conjectures are resulting in widespread criticism of Israel based on the flawed premise that Israel is shirking its humanitarian responsibilities to Palestinians by allegedly refusing to share vaccines with the Palestinian Authority (PA) while providing assistance to Syria, an outside, hostile regime.

However, key pieces of information shaping the narrative related to Israel, Palestinians, and COVID-19 are often left out.

This month Israel provided thousands of Moderna vaccine doses to PA medical workers, as reported by the Associated Press, despite the fact that, to this day, the PA has not publicly requested vaccination assistance from Israel.

A PA Ministry of Health official openly stated in December 2020 that the PA is responsible for its own distribution of health resources through its Ministry of Health, reflecting a sentiment of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which grants the PA the responsibility of governance over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“We are working on our own to obtain the vaccine from a number of sources. 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,” a PA Ministry of Health official said back in December 2020.

The PA has yet to publicly acknowledge the assistance they are receiving from the Jewish state.

In mid-February, Israel was further criticized for requiring parliamentary approval to ship vaccines into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, ultimately slowing the shipment by only two days, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Further laying bare the PA’s intricate ties to terrorism and its threat to the Israeli state, in 2020 alone, the PA reportedly gave $150 million to terrorists, money that could have been used to fund vaccine doses, which the PA says it cannot afford to purchase in the quantities needed.

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