On Tuesday, Etihad Airways flew the first known direct commercial flight between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel.

UAE, home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai on the Arabian Peninsula, has no formal diplomatic ties to Israel, but the two nations have enjoyed covert, back-channel relations for years, according to World Israel News.

The flight on Tuesday brought aid for the Palestinians amid the coronavirus pandemic and marks an open moment of cooperation between Israel and the UAE after years of rumored back-channel discussions between them over the threat posed by Iran.

Etihad, a state-owned, long-haul carrier, confirmed it sent a flight Tuesday to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.

“Etihad Airways operated a dedicated humanitarian cargo flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv on 19 May to provide medical supplies to the Palestinians,” the airline told The Associated Press.

“The flight had no passengers on board.”

The Israel Airports Authority confirmed the cargo flight landed at Ben Gurion on Tuesday night.

An Israeli official said the flight would be delivering humanitarian aid provided by the UAE to the Palestinians and that the cargo flight was coordinated with the Israeli government. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Source: World Israel News

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