An Etihad Airlines flight, direct from Abu Dhabi, landed in Israel for the first time on Tuesday night, the Foreign Ministry confirmed.
A cargo flight for the United Arab Emirates flag carrier headed to Israel with humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Among the aid provided was 16 tons of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment and 10 ventilators.
This aid is in line with the United Nations COVID-19 Response Plan for the occupied Palestinian territory. The plan supports the efforts led by the Government of Palestine 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 UAE for their continued support to the Palestinian people.
“The UAE is an important partner, whose continued support for peace and for the Palestinian people at this critical time is highly valued," Mladenov stated. "Global solidarity is in the interest of everyone. Today we are facing the most challenging crisis since the Second World War. We can get through it only by working together."
The World Food Program, in cooperation with Israel, was also involved in the efforts.
Israel and the UAE do not have diplomatic relations. The Foreign Ministry coordinated the flight, and the plane did not carry the Etihad logo
The flight takes place amid warming ties between Israel and Gulf States. In recent weeks, three out of six Arab Gulf States said they would be interested in cooperation with Israel on medical matters during the coronavirus crisis, including the UAE.
There have also been several firsts in aviation during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the first direct flights between Israel and Australia, to evacuate Israeli citizens stuck down under.
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