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News > United Arab Emirates

Second UAE Flight Lands in Israel Amid Warming Diplomatic Ties

  • A banner shows the flags of the UAE and Palestine while medical aid was unloaded from an Etihad plane at Israel's Tel Aviv airport on 20 May.

    A banner shows the flags of the UAE and Palestine while medical aid was unloaded from an Etihad plane at Israel's Tel Aviv airport on 20 May. | Photo: Screengrab (MEE)

Published 9 June 2020
Opinion

The UAE-based Etihad Airways flight landed Tuesday in Israel with the alleged goal of delivering aid to Palestinians.

In a new sign of warming relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Israeli regime, a UAE-based Etihad Airways flight, with the alleged goal of delivering aid to Palestinians, landed Tuesday in Tel Aviv, according to Israeli media.

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This is the second known Emirati plane to fly from Abu Dhabi to the Jewish state in less than a month.

In May, the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejected the first aid cargo, saying that it had to be sent in coordination with the Palestinian leadership, not Israel.

Neither the UAE nor the other Gulf countries have official relations with Israel. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations that signed peace treaties and have public diplomatic ties with Israel, 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 U.S. President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century," and the reported talks to hold a "historic meeting" in Egypt between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 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.

These normalization efforts come as Israel is planning to annex major parts of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, a controversial move that has been vehemently rejected by the PA.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had declared all deals with Israel null and void after Netanyahu confirmed his annexation plans.

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