Palestinians in Gaza receive coronavirus vaccines

GAZA CITY (AP) – A shipment of coronavirus vaccines arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, brought by a rival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan arranged for the shipment of 20,000 Russian Sputnik V vaccines, donated by the United Arab Emirates. The stash came via the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

A huge container with words of thanks and portraits of Emirati leaders passed through the Rafah crossing station in the southern Gaza Strip.

The shipment comes a few days after the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority led by Abbas managed to send 2,000 vaccines to Gaza via Israel after a delay of several days. Sunday’s shipment appeared to be an attempt to make the Abbas government look bad.

Dahlan, a formerly prominent member of Abbas’s Fata party, has been living in Abu Dhabi since he distanced himself from the Palestinian leader in 2011.

Gaza has been ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement since 2007, when the group seized power by force, snatching it from Abbas loyalists.

In total, the vaccines will serve about 11,000 people, a tiny part of the 2 million inhabitants of Gaza. The Gaza Health Ministry indicated that vaccinations will begin on Monday, with priority given to health professionals and government leaders.

It is estimated that Gaza needs some 2.6 million doses to vaccinate all people over the age of 16.