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20,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Gaza from UAE

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RAFAH:  Gaza has received 20,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday.  The vaccines, which were from Russia’s V, were brought to Gaza via the Rafah crossing with Egypt, AFP journalists said — meaning they did not pass through Israel, which has maintained a tight blockade on Gaza since 2007.

Last week, Mohammed Dahlan, a former top member of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas´s Fatah party now exiled in the United Arab Emirates, announced the delivery of the vaccines as a “generous grant” from Abu Dhabi.

Dahlan, currently a security adviser to UAE strongman Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, has claimed credit for the delivery, which some Palestinians are seeing as a political move ahead of May and July legislative and presidential polls.

A statement Sunday from a dissident branch of the Fatah party Dahlan controls said the vaccines were for “medical teams” in Gaza, which has not yet begun a general vaccination campaign.

Analysts are watching Dahlan´s moves closely ahead of the Palestinian elections, the first since 2006, amid speculation he may try to mount a challenge to Abbas´s camp.

The first batch of vaccine doses arrived in Gaza this week, part of a Sputnik V supply secured by the Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority.

The PA has said it will share its supply with Hamas in Gaza.

That shipment was sent by the PA from the occupied West Bank through Israel, which had initially blocked its delivery to Gaza.

The Israeli military department responsible for civil affairs in Palestine has said that it requires “political” instructions before allowing vaccines into the coastal enclave, where Israel has fought three wars against Hamas since 2008.

Both Hamas and the PA have accused Israel of violating international law by stemming the free flow of vaccines into Gaza.

Meanwhile, rights groups and the UN have called on Israel, currently, the world leader in vaccinations per capita, to ensure that Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are vaccinated.

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