Israel announces ‘cooperation’ with UAE to battle coronavirus

Last week, UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said it will cooperate with Israel on some areas.

[Ariel Schalit/Reuters]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared Israel will join forces with the United Arab Emirates in the fight against COVID-19, despite the lack of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“This partnership will be in the areas of research, development, and technology in areas that will improve health security all over the region,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Thursday.

Netanyahu said a formal announcement on working with the UAE on confronting coronavirus was imminent and would be made by the Israeli and UAE health ministers.

The proclamation comes at a time of intense Arab objection to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank – regions that form an essential part of a state that Palestinians have long pursued for.

Last week, UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said it will cooperate with Israel on some areas, including the fight against the coronavirus and on technology, notwithstanding political differences.

The UAE and Israel have been getting closer in recent years. (Kamran Jebreili / AP Archive)

Addressing a military ceremonial in southern Israel, Netanyahu said the effort came from rigorous contacts with the UAE in recent months.

The UAE’s state-run news agency WAM established that two Israeli companies will be working with two Emirati companies on medical projects, including those to combat COVID-19. 

Israel has no consular relations with Arab countries in the Gulf, but the shared concerns regarding Iran’s regional influence have led to a limited defrost in ties.

Last month, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad made the first acknowledged flight by a Gulf carrier to Israel, carrying coronavirus-related ‘aid’ for the Palestinians. The second flight soon followed, and the aircraft bore for the first time the logo of Etihad.

An Etihad Airways plane carrying medical aid to ‘help’ Palestinians cope with the coronavirus pandemic prepares to land at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.

Speaking at a conference of the American Jewish Committee advocacy group, Gargash said Israel can’t expect to normalize relations with Arab countries if it annexes West Bank land. He also said cooperation with Israel on the coronavirus would not affect the UAE’s objection to annexation.

Israel is expected on July the 1st to begin a cabinet debate on illegally extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in occupied West Bank.

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments bar below.

  • UAE is all about money, they supported India on Kashmiri genocide.

    They have no conscious…its all about money

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