The Palestinian Authority (P.A.) has rejected a delivery of medical supplies and other aid that arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday on a flight from Abu Dhabi. It was the second time in three weeks that the P.A. turned its back on such assistance from the United Arab Emirates.
The first was transported on May 21 in an unmarked Etihad Airways plane. This week’s delivery of ventilators and other equipment to help deal with the COVID-19 crisis arrived on a plane with the airline’s logo.
“We refuse to receive it because it was coordinated directly between Israel and [the UAE],” P.A. Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh told AFP.
During a briefing with foreign media in Ramallah on Tuesday, P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said, “If any country, whether Arab or European or international country, wants to help us, we welcome that. We don’t say no, as long as it is not conditional, and as long as it is fully coordinated with us.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem tweeted in response: “Proud of the Foreign Ministry’s role in facilitating the arrival of the Etihad cargo plane which landed in Israel after flying from Abu Dhabi, carrying humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. We hope that future ETIHAD flights landing here will be carrying UAE tourists.”
According to the Foreign Ministry, the aid was to be transferred to the P.A. and Gaza by the U.N. and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. All together, nearly 16 tons of anti-coronavirus goods have been delivered.
There are no official relations between the UAE and Israel, though the countries have quiet ties and are united with other Gulf states against the Iranian threat.