Two months ago, the Emirati government sent fourteen tons of medical equipment to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The unmarked plane bearing these items made the first ever direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv. Despite needing the ventilators, medications, and other supplies aboard the plane to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, Ramallah turned down the gift. Edy Cohen explains:
According to Palestinian sources who spoke anonymously to the Arab media, it was because the United Arab Emirates coordinated the arrival of the shipment with Israel and not with the Palestinians. That fact, likely combined with the optics of a UAE flight landing at Ben-Gurion, was deemed so unacceptable as to render the aid untouchable. The Palestinian government does not want to function in any way as a bridge toward normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, or anyone else for that matter. Anything that infringes on the Palestinian policy of enforced diplomatic isolation of Israel is to be categorically rejected, even if such rejection results in harm to the Palestinian people.
On June 9, the UAE again tried to send humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. This time, the plane was clearly marked as a UAE national airline: it bore the words “Etihad Airways” as well as state symbols. . . . Once again, the Palestinian Authority refused the aid.
The conduct of the PA in this matter has not won it many friends, especially in the Arab world. The Palestinian people have to pay—yet again—for their leadership’s warped priorities. It is unfortunate that most of Europe continues to refuse to acknowledge the malpractice of the Palestinian leadership and continues to support the PA blindly.