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Israel uses POW deal to buy vaccines for Syria



JERUSALEM (AP)-Israeli media reported on Sunday that Israel paid Russia $1.2 million to provide the Syrian government with a coronavirus vaccine as part of a deal to ensure the release of an Israeli woman captured in Damascus.

The secret trade-offs that Moscow has carefully arranged between the two countries remain obscure. However, the fact that Israel is providing vaccines to Syria—Syria is a hostile, hostile Iranian force and full of hostility in Iran—arouses criticism at home, in stark contrast to Israel’s refusal to provide large quantities of vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that “there is no Israeli vaccine”

; involved in the transaction. He did not disclose whether Israel paid for Russia’s vaccines, and said Russia insisted that the details of the exchange remained secret.

Netanyahu’s office declined to comment, and many details of the agreement are still under review.

The Labour Party leader Merav Michaeli called on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to discuss the transaction and discuss Natanyahu’s “political, improper use of censorship”.

“Why do Israeli citizens always need to learn from foreign media what their prime minister is hiding from them?” she said on Israel’s Kan radio station on Sunday.

Israel announced on Friday that it has reached a Russian mediation agreement to bring home a young woman who crossed the border into neighboring Syria earlier this month. In exchange, Israel said it had released two Syrian shepherds who had entered Israeli territory.

Netanyahu boasted that his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin helped to reach this agreement. His office did not mention any agreement to purchase vaccines for Syria.

Reports from Israel stated that Israel paid an undisclosed dose for the Sputnik V vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which provides funding for the development of Sputnik V, said in November that the price per dose internationally is less than $10.

The Syrian National News Agency denied that the transaction existed.

The released 25-year-old Israeli woman returned to Israel via Moscow and was interrogated by Israel’s internal security agencies. According to Israeli media reports, she came from the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modiin Illit, mainly ultra-Orthodox Christians, and had previously tried to cross the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip and Jordan.

According to reports, the woman crossed Syrian territory from the Golan Heights. Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed the Golan Heights in 1981. This move has not been widely recognized internationally. Israeli officials did not release her identity or motivation to enter Syria.

Gideon Saar, a former Netanyahu ally, tried to defeat him in the upcoming Israeli elections. He said that the government’s censorship of “what Damascus and Moscow know, and that Israeli citizens have not Don’t understand,” it’s hard to understand.

Israel and Syria are still in a state of official war, and Israeli citizens are officially prohibited from visiting Syria.

Israel’s hostile Iran sent troops to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resist the insurgent group. Israel believes that Iran’s adherence to its northern border is a red line, and has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Iran-related facilities and weapons convoys suspected of going to Iran-backed Hezbollah armed groups.

Israel has provided some humanitarian assistance to groups unrelated to Assad and provided medical services to thousands of Syrians who have reached the border of the Golan Heights.

Netanyahu reportedly agreed to pay for vaccines to an enemy country. This is in stark contrast to his refusal to provide large quantities of vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, which was strongly protested by human rights organizations.

The disparity between Israel’s successful vaccination efforts for its own population and the Palestinians has aroused criticism from United Nations officials and human rights organizations, and shed light on the inequality in access to vaccines in rich and poor countries.

These groups argue that Israel is responsible for vaccinating Palestinians, while Israel argues that it is not responsible for vaccinating Palestinians, and that under the interim peace agreement reached in the 1990s, the internationally supported Palestinian Authority must try to provide its residents vaccination. Israel’s vaccination campaign includes its own Arab population.

The Palestinian Authority has not publicly asked Israel to provide assistance, saying that it is procuring vaccines on its own and through the World Health Organization for poor countries. But earlier this month, Israel agreed to share 2,000 vaccines with the Palestinians in order to vaccinate medical workers in the West Bank.

Ahmad Tibi, a member of the Knesset’s coalition of Arab political parties, wrote on Twitter on Friday: “Do we have to wait for the Jews to cross the Gaza Strip and let them get the vaccine?”


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