Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel and the United Arab Emirates would cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus – a possible boost to Israeli efforts to normalize relations with Gulf Arab countries.
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.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) June 25, 2020
The UAE’s foreign affairs ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Such cooperation would come at a time of strong Arab opposition to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank – territory Palestinians seek for a state – under a US peace plan.
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.
— Press TV (@PressTV) June 26, 2020
Addressing a military ceremony in southern Israel, Netanyahu said Israel and the UAE would collaborate in research and development and technology “to improve the well-being of the entire region”.
Gulf Arab states do not have diplomatic relations with Israel. However, due to shared concerns over Iran’s influence in the region, they are are increasingly normalizing relations cooperating against a perceived threat from Teheran.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)