Abu Dhabi's Etihad Second Flight of Palestinian Coronavirus Aid Lands in Israel

The Palestinian Authority rejected a first shipment in May, after officials said it wasn't coordinated with them

Noa Landau
Reuters
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A cargo plane operated by Etihad Airways offloads aid related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for Palestinians, at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel May 19, 2020.
A cargo plane operated by Etihad Airways offloads aid to fight coronavirus for Palestinians, at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel May 19, 2020.Credit: ISRAEL AIRPORTS AUTHORITY/ REU
Noa Landau
Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways has operated a rare, second flight to Israel on Tuesday carrying medical aid to be delivered to the Palestinians, an airline spokeswoman said.

The plane landed on Tuesday night, and the aid it carried will be transferred via the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit and the United Nations to the West Bank and Gaza.

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The state-owned carrier made the first known flight to Israel by a United Arab Emirates airline on May 19. It transported supplies to help the Palestinians combat the new coronavirus after the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process coordinated a 16-ton shipment from the UAE.

However, Palestinian authorities refused to receive that shipment because they said it had not been coordinated with them.

Following the Palestinian Authority's refusal to receive the aid, it was agreed that it would go to the Gaza Strip instead.

A healthcare worker checks the body temperature of Palestinian workers returning from Israel, amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, outside the Israeli-controlled Meitar checkpoint.Credit: MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/ REUTERS

Like the first flight, Tuesday's flight from Abu Dhabi was cargo-only with no passengers onboard, the Etihad spokeswoman told Reuters by email.

"Etihad Airways continues to operate humanitarian flights providing much needed aid to nations within its network and beyond," she said.

Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the UAE or any of the other five Gulf Arab countries, and there are no commercial flights between them.

However, shared concerns over Iran's influence in the region have led to a discrete thaw in ties between Israel and the Arab Gulf in recent years.

An Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters Tuesday's Etihad flight was completing a shipment of aid from the UAE to the Palestinians.

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