- Title: Gaza receives COVID vaccines from UAE, a move helped by Abbas rival
- Date: 21st February 2021
- Summary: RAFAH, GAZA (FEBRUARY 21, 2021) (REUTERS) TRUCK DRIVING PEOPLE WEARING PROTECTIVE SUITS SIGN READING IN ARABIC "Donated from UAE, COVID-19 vaccines, thanks to UAE" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE UNLOADING VACCINES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) JAWAD TIBI, GAZA OFFICIAL CLOSE TO ABBAS' RIVAL MOHAMMED DAHLAN, SAYING: "Today we are getting 20.000 doses of Russian Sputnik vaccine and it was newly produced specifically for the Gaza Strip funded by the UAE and with efforts of Mohammed Dahlan. Today we will hand it over to the ministry of health." SIGN READING IN ARABIC AND ENGLISH 'RAFAH CROSSING POINT' VARIOUS OF TRUCK DRIVING
- Embargoed: 7th March 2021 16:28
- Keywords: COVID-19 Gaza Palestinians Rafah Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine vaccines
- Location: RAFAH, GAZA
- City: RAFAH, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Middle East
- Reuters ID: LVA001E0L5XZB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Gaza received 20,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine from the United Arab Emirates on Sunday (February 21), a move secured by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's rival, Mohammad Dahlan, who is based in the Gulf state.
Gaza health officials said they would begin vaccination on Monday (February 22), with priority to medical workers and those with chronic diseases. Many patients were contacted in advance and asked to give their consent if they would be willing to take the dose.
The step by Dahlan, whom Abbas had dismissed from his Fatah party a decade ago and forced into exile, was seen by analysts as an attempt to score points ahead of a planned Palestinian election later this year.
"The shipment is a generous offer from the brotherly UAE," Dahlan, long considered a potential Abbas successor, said in a Facebook post. "We promise our people that we will exert every possible effort to secure more."
Gaza received its first shipment of 2,000 doses of Sputnik V on Wednesday (February 17), sent by Abbas's governmment after Israel approved the transfer through its border with the territory, which is controlled by the Palestinian leader's Islamist Hamas rivals.
Gaza, home for two million people, has registered more than 54,000 COVID-19 cases with 543 deaths.
In August, the UAE angered Palestinians when it struck a diplomatic deal with Israel, a move Abbas described as "betrayal". Some criticized Dahlan for failing to condemn the accord, while some suggested he may have played a role.
He has not outright denied this. But his faction has criticised Arab countries forming relations with Israel before its conflict with the Palestinians is resolved.
Dahlan had said his strong ties with the UAE helped him raise hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Palestinians.
In Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinians gave mixed responses on social media.
"How can you thank the Emirates? (They) gave up on our cause and normalized with the Israelis," said one post.
Another said: "All hail the true leader, Mohammad Dahlan, who cares for his people, supports them in all areas of life and stands for them in all circumstances."
Once one of the fiercest foes of Hamas, Dahlan has in recent years improved his ties with the group's rulers, permitting his associates to operate more freely in the territory.
(Production: Bassam Masound, Arafat Barbakh, Rinat Harash)
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