The Foreign Ministry confirmed that an Etihad Airlines flight departing from Abu Dhabi landed in Israel for the first time on Tuesday evening.
A cargo flight from the U.A.E. flagship aircraft landed at Israel’s airport with humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
The assistance provided included 16 tons of medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment and 10 ventilators.
This assistance is in line with the United Nations COVID-19 response plan for the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The plan supports the Palestinian Government’s efforts to contain the pandemic and mitigate its impact.
Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, thanked the Government and the people of the United Arab Emirates for their continued support to the Palestinian people.
“The United Arab Emirates is an extremely important partner, whose continued commitment to peace and to the Palestinian people at this critical time is much appreciated,” said Mr Mladenov. “World solidarity is in the interest of all. Today we are facing the most difficult crisis since the Second World War. We can only overcome it by working together. “
The World Food Program, in cooperation with Israel, also participated in the efforts.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates do not have diplomatic relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated the flight and the aircraft did not carry the Etihad logo.
The flight took place at a time of warming ties between Israel and the Gulf states. In recent weeks three out of six Arab Gulf states have expressed interest in co-operating with Israel on medical issues during the Coronavirus crisis, including the United Arab Emirates.
There were also several aviation firsts during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the first direct flights between Israel and Australia to help get stranded Israeli citizens out of the country.