An Etihad Airlines flight, direct from Abu Dhabi, landed in Israel for the first time Tuesday evening, the foreign ministry said.
A cargo flight for the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates headed for Israel with humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Among the relief supplies, 14 tonnes of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment and 10 ventilators, comply with the United Nations COVID-19 response plan for the occupied Palestinian territory. The plan supports efforts by the Palestinian government to contain the pandemic and mitigate its impact. Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, thanked the government and people of the United Arab Emirates for their continued support for the Palestinian people. “The United Arab Emirates is an important partner, whose continued support for peace and the Palestinian people at this critical time is much appreciated,” said Mladenov. Global solidarity is in everyone’s interest. Today we are facing the most difficult crisis since the Second World War. We can only achieve this by working together. “The World Food Program, in cooperation with Israel, has also participated in the efforts.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates do not have diplomatic relations. The Foreign Ministry coordinated the flight and the plane did not carry the Etihad logo
The flight takes place against a background of warming ties between Israel and the Gulf States. In the past few weeks, three out of six Arab Gulf states have expressed interest in cooperating with Israel on medical issues during the coronavirus crisis, including the United Arab Emirates. There have also been several firsts in the aviation during the COVID-19 pandemic, including direct flights between Israel and Australia, to evacuate Israeli citizens trapped beneath.