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Israel paying millions to supply COVID-19 doses to Syria | Politics news




The Palestinians are likely to flaunt the fact that Israel is helping millions of Syrians as they continue to wait for their supply of the Russian Sputnik vaccine.

Israeli media report that the Russian-negotiated exchange of Syrian prisoners, which included the repatriation of an Israeli woman who crossed the Golan Heights border into Syria in exchange for two Syrian shepherds fleeing into Israeli-controlled territory, included another concession. unprecedented Israel.

However, the nature of the concession could not be published because Israeli military censorship banned it.

A well-informed Israeli source told Al Jazeera that Russia, to sign the agreement, proposed that Israel pay millions of dollars for several million doses of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to millions of Syrians.

Netanyahu and [Foreign Minister Benny] Gantz, knowing the potential electoral damage to both, ordered the military censor to stop publishing that Israel agreed to fund the purchase of Russian doses of the Sputnik V vaccine for millions of Syrian citizens. The exact price was not disclosed to the cabinet, but millions of dollars of it, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A few days earlier, Israeli reports had said the security cabinet had met to consider the release of the captives on both sides. But it was unclear why the exchange of an ultra-Orthodox Israeli and two shepherds would require the approval of such senior officials. Given the comments of the sources, it is now clear that the vaccine proposal was the element that required such a discussion.

Israel has opposed the government of President Bashar al-Assad for the past 10 years, offering military support to the anti-regime rebels of the al-Nusra Front and launching hundreds of airstrikes against Syrian and Iranian targets inside the country. He also invaded the Golan Heights, territory he occupied from Syria in the 1973 War.

For Israel to now offer a large shipment of COVID vaccines not only strengthens a government that Israel has long sought to undermine but also risks fomenting animosity among the average Israeli who is not inclined to sympathize with the line states. front with whom they stand at war. For example, it remains illegal for any Israeli citizen to visit Syria. Some individuals have been imprisoned for doing so.

For these reasons, Netanyahu and Gantz preferred to keep this aspect of the agreement closed, so as not to weaken their political position by going to the March elections, which will be the fourth in the last two years.

Israel liberated from the Syrians was described as growing up in an ultra-Orthodox family. She had abandoned the tradition, learned Arabic and then tried unsuccessfully to cross into Gaza. Her next attempt was to cross the Golan Heights, which she did two weeks ago. Local villagers met him, suspected him of being a spy and reported him to the authorities, who arrested him.

A further irony of the deal to supply the Russian COVID vaccine to Syria is that Israel has refused, with some exceptions to the signs, to offer doses to the four million Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. It has provided 5,000 for West Bank health workers and 1,000 for similar personnel in Gaza. But it did so under international pressure, which arose when Israel refused to accept any responsibility to help the Palestinians.

Israel is also vaccinating African refugees and Palestinians with Israeli work permits, presumably because authorities fear they might otherwise infect Israeli citizens they come in contact with.

The Palestinians are likely to boast that Israel is helping millions of Syrians as they continue to wait for their supply of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

The vaccine deal also benefits Russian President Vladimir Putin, who may warn of donating his country’s vaccine to protect millions of Syrians. On the other hand, Netanyahu can address voters and boast of freeing an Israeli captive from the hands of the enemy. Finally, Syrian President al-Assad can tell his people that this medical relief was negotiated on their behalf by him and their Russian ally.

The entire agreement provides an example of the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, the use of humanitarian medical assistance to advance national political interests. It also highlights the inequality in the distribution of the vaccine to people who do not have the world, who do not even have the political power, patronage or funding to ensure the protection of their populations.

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