Israel, UAE to cooperate in fight against coronavirus

27 Juin, 2020, 05:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said his country would be cooperating with the United Arab Emirates to fight against the coronavirus pandemic, despite a lack of diplomatic ties.

A United Nations human rights expert on Friday urged the European Union to use its "economic weight, diplomatic expertise and aid, trade and investment leverage" to forestall looming Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

In a statement, PM Netanyahu said, "This collaboration will be in the areas of research and development and technology, in areas that will improve health security throughout the region".

Netanyahu said a formal announcement on working together with the UAE on confronting the COVID-19 pandemic was imminent and would be made by the UAE and Israeli health ministers.

Last week, the UAE's minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said it could work with Israel on some areas, including the battle against the coronavirus and on technology, despite political differences.

Arab states in the Gulf, including the UAE, have increasingly built informal ties with Israel in recent years amid shared concerns over Iran, which the Jewish state considers its arch-enemy.

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He said the agreement stemmed from intensive contacts with the UAE over recent months.

In May, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad made the first known flight by a UAE carrier to Israel, carrying coronavirus-related aid for the Palestinians.

Speaking to a conference of the American Jewish Committee advocacy group on June 16, Gargash said Israel can not expect to normalize relations with the Arab world if it annexes West Bank land.

His remarks come just days before Israel intends to kick-start US-backed plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

He said the planned annexation after July 1 was a continuation of Israel's "illegal extension of sovereignty over Palestinian and Arab lands over the past decades, underlining that now the worldwide community was more alert to severe breaches of global law".

The plan has sparked the fury of the Palestinians and drawn global condemnation.

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