Palestinians Reject Historic Cargo Flight From UAE Carrying COVID Supplies

On May 18 Etihad operated its first ever flight to Israel, flying an Airbus A330 full of cargo from Abu Dhabi to Tel Avvi carrying supplies including ventilators bound for the Palestinian territory. However the Palestinian authority rejected the shipment because the U.A.E. coordinated the shipment with Israel, rather than directly with them.

They believed they were being ‘used’ as cover for normalizing relations between the U.A.E. and Israel, which would hurt their bargaining position with the Jewish state.

On Tuesday Etihad tried again, operating a Boeing 787-9 as flight EY9607. And while the first plane flew without any Etihad markings at all, this aircraft had Etihad’s livery. There was nothing secret about the shipments.

And again the Palestinian Authority rejected the supplies. The cargo flight landed in Tel Aviv, since the U.A.E. and Israel do not even have diplomatic relations let alone an air service agreement coordination was required. And the aid was handled by the U.N., not by the Israeli government.

However once again the Palestinian Authority objected because it was “coordinated directly between Israel and them. We were not part of the coordination” according to Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh.

A U.N. official suggesed that supplies were most needed in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas “holds sway” making it even more difficult for the Palestinian Authority to accept supplies. However cargo flights have little possibility of entering the territory without landing in Israel – Yasser Arafat International Airport in Gaza was decommissioned two decades ago. Israel bombed the airport’s control tower after a terrorist attack that killed Israeli soldiers following the Second Intifada.

It’s not possible to fly cargo to Egypt and bring it into Gaza – while the El Arish International Airport in Egypt is just over 20 miles away, the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip allows people to move across but not cargo. The Kerem Shalom border crossing at the junction of the Gaza Strip–Israel and Gaza–Egypt borders is run by the Israel Airports Authority, and so moving cargo would still involve coordination with Israel – even if the flight had landed in Egypt.

Whether the Palestinian Authority accepts supplies or not, there have now been two cargo flights between the U.A.E. and Israel which itself represents a thawing of relations.

(HT: sexy_kitten7)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Unfortunate situation. I might add that Israel has other airports they could have used but basically all international travel goes through TLV “normally” but then again this isn’t normal. This shows how complicated the political situation is in Israel but it does seem unreasonable under the circumstances. To me, it’s not much different than Palestinians or other Muslims that travel to Israel that have to land at TLV.

  2. Ahhhhh …the Privileged pride. Always ready to embrace a position that “actual problems” can neatly be ascribed to just one side of a decades-long conflict.

  3. It is a weird world when there are more flights between the UAE and Israel than between the UAE and Qatar.

  4. “We will only have peace with [the Arabs] when they love their children more than they hate us..”.Golda Meir

    “My dear, old age is like an airplane flying in a storm. Once you’re in it there’s nothing you can do. You can’t stop a plane, you can’t stop a storm, you can’t stop time. So you might as well take it easy, with wisdom.“
    Golda Meir

  5. Would rather let their own people die than accept assistance from fellow Arabs – Nothing short of idiots

  6. “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” – Golda Meir

  7. The Palestinian leaders are hopelessly corrupt and self-serving. They are willing and enthusiastic about sacrificing the people down to the last child, to maintain their power and income. Disgraceful, sad, unforgivable.

  8. I once heard something along the lines of “The Palestine Authority never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

    On the surface, this sure looks like an opportunity has again been missed.

  9. I don’t blame them, UAE is like a cancer in the middle east, probably all the medical equipments are defective or tempered with. any sane person would not accept anything from Emaraties.

  10. More NO NO NO from the most corrupt leaders on earth..
    If it where parts to build rockets or suicide vests they would have taken the shipments

  11. They have a point. If they are left out of coordination and communication on matters that affect them they are being treated as pawns or worse.

  12. It’s gotta suck for the Palestinian people, who could’ve really used the aid, that their corrupt leader (which no one seems to be curious about how he attained it) keeps getting propped up by the Western world.

    Abbas literally hasn’t accomplished anything in his 4 year term (which he is currently 15 years into), and yet they still can’t even get aid from another arab country because he’s more concerned about Israeli-UAE relations than the welfare of his own people.

    And it probably won’t even help whatever idiotic cause Abbas thinks he’s rebuking. As if disrespecting the UAE like this will push them away from Israel and towards him. Sound logic I guess, if you’re a corrupt despot

  13. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas should disband themselves after telling the Israeli government that Israel is, under international law and order, responsible for the maintenance of the Palestinian lands and people Israel occupies and that Palestinians en masse want to be Israeli citizens since the Palestinians are de facto under Israeli control just like the bantustans of apartheid-era South Africa were de facto under apartheid-era South African control. Then, instead of relying upon questionable handouts from questionable “allies/friends” and even “the enemy”, all the Palestinian people subject to continued Israeli authority — but subject to it without the apartheid-like bantustan overlay — should rely upon Israel and get to vote in Israeli elections to get the democratic share of the power and benefits that come from being part of Israeli democracy and subject to Israeli jurisdiction.

    Of course, the Israeli government is not eager to keep the Palestinian people, as it really wants the land without the Palestinian people; and so the Israeli government will do what it can to keep up the bantustan sham in the so-called “Palestinian-controlled” parts that are in the West Bank and Gaza.

  14. I’m usually not one to post conspiracy theories but given the lack of coordination with the Palestinians, this smells of a cover story to send military cargo the other way.

  15. I would rather die than take help from my enemy….unless I get the publicity and can take credit for helping my people

  16. What would the majority of the “Arab World” (plus Iran) do if it is an Israeli company that wins the race to develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19?

    Refuse it? Accept it? Publicly refuse it, then try to quietly obtain it?

  17. There are more than just three ways to respond to such a hypothetical situation.

    Israel is part of the “Arab World” and Israel is way more part of the “Arab World” than Iran is.

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