Thursday, February 2nd | 11 Shevat 5783

May 21, 2020 12:26 pm

Palestinian Authority Refuses Coronavirus Aid From UAE Because It Came Through Israel

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avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A member of the Palestinian security forces gestures as he speaks with a truck occupant at a checkpoint after PA President Mahmoud Abbas extended to June 5 a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis, in the West Bank city of Hebron, May 5, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mussa Qawasma.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to accept a large shipment of much-needed medical aid, intended to fight the coronavirus, from the United Arab Emirates because the plane carrying it landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport.

The Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv was the first of its kind, as Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations. However, ties between Israel and the Gulf states have been warming in recent years due to the mutual threat from Iran.

The Middle East Eye reported that the PA Minister of Health Mai Alkaila said of the UAE’s aid, “There has been no coordination with the PA, so we cannot receive such aid. We are a sovereign authority. Coordination must be directly with us.”

Palestinian government sources told the Middle East Monitor, “Palestinians refuse to be a bridge [for Arab countries] seeking to have normalized ties with Israel.”

“Sending [the aid] directly to Israel constitutes a cover for normalization,” they said.

Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei agreed, writing on Twitter shortly after posting a genocidal image calling for Israel’s destruction, “Today, some Persian Gulf states have committed the biggest treachery against their own history and the history of the Arab world. They have betrayed #Palestine by supporting Israel.”

“Will the nations of these states tolerate their leaders’ betrayal?” he asked.

Former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro tweeted of the PA’s decision, “Big mistake.”

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