Abu Dhabi's Etihad delivers medical aid to Palestinians via Israel

Abu Dhabi's Etihad delivers medical aid to Palestinians via Israel”

The United Arab Emirates' Etihad Airways announced that it will fly to Israel to deliver coronavirus aid for the Palestinians, marking the first-known direct commercial flight between the two nations.

However, it marks an open moment of cooperation between the countries after years of rumoured back-channel discussions between them over mutual enmity towards regional rival Iran.

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways has laid off employees this month, including cabin crew, after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to ground flights.

Palestinian officials in the West Bank had no immediate comment.

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"Etihad Airways operated a dedicated humanitarian cargo flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv on May 19 to provide medical supplies to the Palestinians", an Etihad spokeswoman said, adding that there were no passengers on board.

It was not immediately clear whether the 14 tonnes of aid were transported on the Tuesday Etihad cargo flight.

Palestinians officials have not confirmed receiving the UAE shipment and it is unclear whether any of the aid will go to occupied Gaza that suffers the most from a crippling blockade ruled by Hamas and hated by the Gulf monarchy.

Several Israeli media outlets reported that the flight was in coordination with Israel's foreign ministry and the UN's World Food Programme. The airport is the closest one to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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