UAE makes first-ever direct commercial flight to Israel carrying COVID-19 aid for Palestinians
Iran has labelled it “treachery” and “betrayal”.
An Etihad Airways plane flew directly from the capital of the United Arab Emirates to Tel Aviv, carrying Palestinian aid for the coronavirus.
The cargo jet from Abu Dhabi landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport just after 9pm (local time) on Tuesday night.
Despite the UAE having no formal diplomatic ties with Israel, the flight landed without incident and marked the first direct commercial flight between the two nations. The flight also marked a moment of cooperation between Israel and the UAE after years of rumored back-channel discussions between them , over the mutual enmity of Iran and other issues.
The Emirati government officials initially did not comment and later issued a statement saying they delivered the supplies “to curb the spread of (the) COVID-19 pandemic and its impact in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
Neither the Gaza Strip nor the West Bank has its own airports, meaning most cargo bound for Palestinian territory must enter through Israel.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei accused the UAE of committing “treachery” and “betrayal” by allowing the flight and called for an armed uprising in Palestine. “The West Bank must be armed, just as Gaza,” he tweeted.
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