Defense Minister Benny Gantz lashed out against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to transfer small quantities of covid vaccine to the Palestinians and to other countries.
“The fact that Netanyahu is trafficking [in] the vaccines of Israeli citizens, which were paid for with their tax money, without accountability, shows that he thinks he’s running a monarchy, not a state,” Gantz tweeted on Tuesday night.
“Such a process requires discussion and approval. Only a security, diplomatic, or urgent medical need could justify such a process and Netanyahu must present this to the public or at the very least have it approved by the relevant forums,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu confirmed media reports about the vaccine transfers, but without naming countries or giving any reason for the decision beyond the obvious humanitarian one.
“In light of the successful vaccination campaign in Israel and its being the global leader in vaccinating populations, Israel has received many requests from countries for assistance in supplying vaccines,” the prime minister said. “Israel is not producing vaccines itself and has informed respondents that the quantities that were ordered by Israel are for the vaccination of its population; no ability to render significant assistance is anticipated at least until the vaccines campaign in Israel will have ended.
“Nevertheless, over the past month, a limited quantity of unused vaccines was accumulated; therefore, it has been decided to assist Palestinian Authority medical teams and several of the countries that contacted Israel with a symbolic quantity of vaccines.”
However, according to media reports, Israel has offered to ship vaccines to other in exchange for normalizing ties with Israel. Honduras, which recently moved its embassy, will be the first to receive 5,000 vaccines from Israel’s stock. A plane from Honduras will arrive in Israel to collect the vaccines, according to the reports.
Guatemala is also expected to receive 5,000 vaccines from Israel followed by the Czech Republic with a similar amount. This is in exchange for their diplomatic support and the transfer of the diplomatic missions.