Cargo from the UAE is taken off a Etihad Airways flight to Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday
Cargo from the UAE at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday
Photo: Screenshot
Cargo from the UAE at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday

PA rejects UAE's coronavirus aid sent via Israel

Palestinians decline 14 tonnes of medical supplies, claim they refuse to constitute a bridge for Arab countries seeking to have normalized ties with Israel; the direct flight was the first between the nations

i24NEWS, Agencies |
Updated: 05.21.20 , 18:02
The Palestinian Authority (PA) declined a shipment of medical supplies sent by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) via Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, Palestinian news agency Maan reported Thursday.
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  • The PA rejected the shipment, which included 14 tonnes of medical aid for coping with coronavirus, just as it arrived on Tuesday, according to the report as cited by the Andalou Agency.
    Cargo from the UAE is taken off a Etihad Airways flight to Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday  Cargo from the UAE is taken off a Etihad Airways flight to Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday
    Cargo from the UAE at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday
    (Photo: Screenshot)
    “The UAE authorities did not coordinate with the State of Palestine before sending the aid,” government sources told Maan. “Palestinians refuse to be a bridge [for Arab countries] seeking to have normalized ties with Israel.”
    An Israeli official said the flight, which belongs to the UAE's flag-carrier Etihad Airways, would be delivering humanitarian aid provided by the UAE to the Palestinians through the World Food Program, and that the cargo flight was coordinated with the Israeli government. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.
    This marked the first known direct commercial flight between the UAE and Israel, which have no official diplomatic relations.
    However, it is an initial open moment of cooperation between the countries after years of rumored back-channel discussions between them over the mutual enmity of Iran.
    According to a statement from the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, the UN-coordinated a 14-tonne shipment of "urgent medical supplies" from the UAE to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Palestinian territories.
    "The aid includes personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment. Most notably, it includes 10 ventilators that are acutely needed," the statement read.
    חיטוי של עובד שעבר במעבר תרקומיאחיטוי של עובד שעבר במעבר תרקומיא
    Palestinian health worker sprays disinfectant at worker returning from Israel
    (Photo: EPA)
    It was not immediately clear whether the 14 tonnes of aid were transported on the Tuesday Etihad cargo flight. Etihad was not mentioned in the UNSCO statement.
    This marks the first known direct commercial flight between the nations, which have no official diplomatic relations.
    However, it is an initial open moment of cooperation between the countries after years of rumored back-channel discussions between them over the mutual enmity of Iran.
    Etihad, a state-owned, long-haul carrier, confirmed it had a flight Tuesday to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport.
    “Etihad Airways operated a dedicated humanitarian cargo flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv on 19 May to provide medical supplies to the Palestinians,” the airline said. “The flight had no passengers on board.”
    The extent of Gulf Arab ties with Israel is still mostly kept private, though. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have allegedly used Israeli spyware to go after government critics.
    Oman, which has ties with Iran, hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a surprise visit in 2018 that served to remind Washington of its unique ability to be a conduit for talks.
    First published: 17:02 , 05.21.20
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