Israel is starring in an episode of so-called “vaccine diplomacy” that was awaited with countries first arriving at an effective and safe vaccine with a large production capacity or inventory.
In the case of the Hebrew State, this is an advantageous position to run a vaccination program that focuses on speed (more than half of the 9 million Israelis received the first dose) and, in turn, to become a laboratory in real time. For your information: Get it quickly get more vaccine doses from BioNTech / Pfizer and receive more doses than you already need or have contracted with other manufacturers such as Moderna or AstraZeneca.
The vaccines in question come from Moderna, were purchased prior to the Pfizer deal, and are being distributed to several countries. It is currently known that one of the beneficiaries is the Czech Republic, which has promised to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, Guatemala, which became the first country to follow the US and changed its embassy in Tel Aviv, where all the others are located., to Jerusalem and Honduras, who are also planning to move the embassy. There are 5000 cans for each country.
Some vaccines are also being given to the Palestinian Authority – Israel has been under fire for not giving vaccines to Palestinians as human rights organizations believe it should do as an occupying power. For its part, the Hebrew state rejects this commitment, claiming that the limited government of the Palestinians is responsible for health management.
The Czech Republic has confirmed that it has already received vaccines from Israel. Foreign Minister Tomás Petricek argued, quoted on the Euractiv website, that this is not a change of embassy that will stay in Tel Aviv, but rather a “diplomatic mission” in his office in Jerusalem seen as a step before the opening of an embassy.
The country is again facing a rising infection curve as well as deaths (207 recorded on Tuesday) and Prime Minister Andrej Babis has been criticized for the inconsistent management of the pandemic after Prague was highlighted as one of the good examples of fighting the pandemic , but as one of the first European countries to impose a second sentence that promised it would not happen. Babis faces parliamentary elections in October.
Political win before the elections
The Israeli government previously said in a written statement: “Given the successful vaccination campaign in Israel, the world leader in vaccinating the population, Israel has received many requests from countries around the world to help deliver vaccines.” “It was decided to provide a symbolic amount of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority medical teams and several other countries that contacted Israel,” the statement continued, without naming the countries.
The presence of embassies in Jerusalem is a political asset to the government and to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is holding elections on March 23.
Israel claims that the city is “one and indivisible” its capital, an unconfirmed claim until American President Donald Trump so decides and moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (in Tel Aviv an embassy continues; the move was too big and complex to be completed). The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.
The news follows another case involving vaccines and Israel: a Russian-brokered deal for the release of an Israeli imprisoned in Syria was released late last week. The agreement included the usual exchange of prisoners (the release of two pastors and the commutation of a Druze sentence) and a clause that should be secret: the Hebrew state has committed to buy thousands of doses of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine for the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Defense Secretary Benny Gantz criticized the delivery and purchase of vaccines to other countries, saying that Netanyahu had ruled on his own, without the support of the rest of the executive branch, and that this was “the trade in vaccines that Israeli taxpayers paid for,” the Financial Times quoted as saying.