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  • An Emirati flight carrying medical aid landed Tuesday in Israel, marking the first openly known flight between the two states.

    An Emirati flight carrying medical aid landed Tuesday in Israel, marking the first openly known flight between the two states. | Photo: AFP

Published 21 May 2020
Opinion

Any assistance meant to be sent to the Palestinian people should be coordinated with the Palestinian leadership and not with Israel, the PA said.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to receive a coronavirus aid shipment delivered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through Israel, the PA's health minister Mai Kaila said Thursday at a news conference.

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"The UAE has not coordinated with us regarding the medical aid, and we reject to receive it without coordination," the minister said.

"We are a sovereign country, and they should have coordinated with us first."

Citing informed sources, the Palestinian Maan News Agency reported Thursday that the decision was made after the aid arrived at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

"The UAE authorities did not coordinate with the state of Palestine before sending the aid," the government sources said, adding that "Palestinians refuse to be a bridge [for Arab countries] seeking to have normalized ties with Israel."

Any assistance meant to be sent to the Palestinian people should be coordinated with the Palestinian leadership and not with Israel, they asserted.

"Sending them directly to Israel constitutes a cover for normalization," they added.

An Emirati flight carrying medical aid for Palestinians landed Tuesday in Israel after taking off from Abu Dhabi, marking the first openly known flight between the two states despite the UAE not having any official ties with Israel.

Etihad Airways, the state-owned air carrier, confirmed the flight.

"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 told The Associated Press.

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Israeli journalist Itay Blumental tweeted two photos of the aircraft, with the caption: "To Palestinians, with love from Abu Dhabi through Israel."

Neither the UAE nor the other Gulf countries have official relations with Israel. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries that signed peace treaties and have public diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, which has been illegally occupying Palestinian land for decades.

In recent years, however, several Gulf states, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, have cultivated covert ties with Israel.

Main developments since the start of 2020 include the participation of UAE, Bahrain, and Oman ambassadors in the White House unveiling ceremony for the so-called "Deal of the Century;" the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and General Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan, the chairman of Sudan's ruling Sovereign Council, in Entebbe, Uganda where both agreed to start cooperation; or the reported talks to hold a "historic meeting" in Egypt between Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, among many other steps.

The question of normalizing ties with Israel is generally taboo in the Arab world and seen as a betrayal to the Arab and Muslim position on Palestine.

Many commentators say that taking measures to end the Arab boycott of Israel, without reaching a fair solution to the Palestinian issue will be damaging to a cause considered one of the most important priorities for many Muslims and Arabs around the world.

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