Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that “the aid will be transferred to Gaza and the [Palestinian Authority] by the UN and [the Israeli military].”
By Associated Press
An Etihad Airways cargo plane carrying aid from the United Arab Emirates to help the Palestinians combat the coronavirus pandemic landed in Israel on Tuesday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said. It was the second direct commercial flight flew between the two countries in a month.
The Palestinians refused to accept the aid that arrived on the first flight.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner decorated in the Gulf airline’s markings arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport carrying humanitarian aid provided by the United Nations.
Last month, an unmarked Etihad commercial flight carrying medical equipment for the Palestinians landed in Israel — the first-ever direct commercial flight between the UAE and Israel.
But the Palestinian leadership rejected the shipment, claiming it hadn’t been coordinated with the Palestinian Authority in what appeared to be another self-destructive political maneuver.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that “the aid [in the second shipment] will be transferred to Gaza and the [Palestinian Authority] by the UN and COGAT,” Israel’s military body coordinating with the Palestinians. It said the plane’s arrival was coordinated with Israeli authorities.
The two flights have delivered some 16 tons of material, including personal protective equipment and around 15 ventilators, in response to an appeal led by the United Nations for the Palestinians in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a U.N. official said.
Last month’s flight marked a moment of cooperation between Israel and the UAE after years of rumored back-channel communications over the mutual concerns about Iran and other matters.
While the UAE, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai on the Arabian Peninsula, has no official diplomatic ties with Israel, Palestinian officials are concerned the flights are a step toward what they call “normalization,” which refers to the increasingly warm ties between Israel and Arab countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
While not acknowledging Israel diplomatically, the Emirates have invited Israeli officials to visit and the Israeli national anthem was played after an athlete won gold at an Abu Dhabi judo tournament last year. Israel also has a small mission representing its interests at the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi.