This unmarked Etihad cargo jet arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport at around 9 p.m. on May 19. (Screenshot/Twitter)

PA Said to Refuse UAE Aid Transferred via Israel

The Palestinian Authority has reportedly refused to accept coronavirus-related aid from the United Arab Emirates because it arrived on the first known direct flight between the Gulf state and Israel. According to Palestinian and Arabic-language media, Ramallah rejected some 16 tons of medical supplies over concerns that it was being used as a “tool for normalization” between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem. According to sources cited, the transfer of the humanitarian aid had been coordinated with Israel and the World Health Organization, and not with the PA, which has full control over large Palestinian urban centers in the West Bank. Israel and the UAE do not have formal diplomatic relations although a bilateral relationship has blossomed in recent years, mainly due to shared concerns over Iran’s regional interventionism and potential nuclearization. As of Thursday, the PA was reporting some 400 cases of COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus – and two resulting deaths.

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