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Palestinians refuse airborne virus aid from UAE

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Ramallah, Palestine   /   Thu, June 11, 2020   /   06:45 am
Palestinians refuse airborne virus aid from UAE A healthcare worker checks the body temperature of a trainee as she arrives to attend a training about mobile journalism at the office of Press House-Palestine, a media institution, as Palestinians ease the COVID-19 restrictions in Gaza City on Monday.The Palestinian Authority refused Wednesday a planeload of medical supplies from the United Arab Emirates to help fight coronavirus since it was coordinated with Israel rather than with them. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

The Palestinian Authority refused Wednesday a planeload of medical supplies from the United Arab Emirates to help fight coronavirus since it was coordinated with Israel rather than with them.

The Etihad Airways flight, which landed in Israel on Tuesday, was the second airborne delivery of humanitarian cargo by the UAE that the Palestinians say they have turned down in a month.

"We refuse to receive it because it was coordinated directly between Israel and them [the UAE]," Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh told AFP.

"We were not part of the coordination."

Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab countries to hold official relations with Israel, but Gulf Arab nations like the UAE have been warming to the Jewish state recently amid shared concerns over Iran.

While a May 19 Etihad flight carrying Palestinian aid from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv was unmarked, Tuesday was the first time an Etihad aircraft landed in Israel bearing its logo, a source with knowledge of the flight told AFP.

The UAE's aid flights come as Israel prepares to move forward with annexing West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley.

A peace plan announced by US President Donald Trump in January gave the green light for such annexations.

Analysts say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes Arab states normalizing ties with Israel will push the Palestinians to reach a peace deal.

But "there should be no normalization before the end of the Israeli occupation," Al-Sheikh told AFP.