PA Rejects UAE Coronavirus Aid Delivered Via Israel

A cargo plane operated by Etihad Airways offloads aid related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for Palestinians, at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, Tuesday. (Israel Airports Authority office/Handout via Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority has rejected the coronavirus aid sent on an Etihad flight to Israel on Tuesday, saying that aid must be sent in coordination with the Palestinian leadership and not with Israel.

“There has been no coordination with the PA, so we cannot receive this aid,” PA Health Minister Mai Alkaila told a news conference on Thursday. “We are a sovereign authority. Coordination must be made directly with us.”

The United Arab Emirates flew its first openly known flight to Israel late on Tuesday, an Etihad cargo plane from Abu Dhabi, to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

The United Nations said it coordinated a 16-ton shipment of “urgent medical supplies” from the UAE to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Palestinian “territories,” according to a statement from the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO).

“The aid includes personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment. Most notably, it includes 10 ventilators that are acutely needed,” the statement added.

Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations, despite their de facto alliance against Iran.

Palestinians and their supporters oppose “normalization” efforts with Israel.

The spread of the coronavirus has raised fears that Palestinians may not have the resources to cope with a major outbreak in the Palestinian regions, which have had close to 400 confirmed cases and two related deaths.