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Iran Press TV

Netanyahu says Israel, UAE to cooperate on coronavirus as normalization speeds up

Iran Press TV

Friday, 26 June 2020 5:27 AM

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to publicly announce cooperation over what he described as the fight against the novel coronavirus, amid attempts by a number of Arab countries to normalize diplomatic relations with the Tel Aviv regime.

Speaking at an air force graduation ceremony on Thursday, Netanyahu said the impending measure stemmed from "prolonged and intense contacts."

"This collaboration will be in the areas of research and development and technology, in areas that will improve health security throughout the region," he said.

Channel 12 news reported that Mossad chief Yossi Cohen had helped broker the new agreement.

The report said the deal may include the opening of mutual missions both in the Occupied Territories and the UAE.

Several hours later, a spokesman for the UAE's Foreign Ministry tweeted, "In light of strengthening international cooperation in the fields of research, development & technology in service of humanity, two private companies in the UAE sign(ed) an agreement with two companies in Israel to develop research technology to fight COVID-19."

The Emirati state-run news agency WAM also confirmed the move, saying, "As a result of the pandemic's spread worldwide, it is imperative to place the protection of humanity at the forefront of global action to overcome this unprecedented crisis."

The names of the companies were not immediately revealed.

Earlier this month, a cargo plane operated by Etihad Airways, a flag carrier airline of the UAE alongside Emirates, landed at Ben Gurion airport near Lod, located 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Tel Aviv, purportedly carrying coronavirus-related medical supplies for the Palestinians.

But the Palestinian Authority officials rejected the shipment, and said it wasn't coordinated with them.

The new partnership between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv came just days before the Israeli regime intends to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, irrespective of growing chorus of international condemnation.

In response to Israel's decision, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States on May 19.

On June 15, the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, severely censured attempts by the UAE to normalize relations with the Israeli regime, warning that such efforts amount to a "poisonous stab" in the back of the Palestinian nation.

Hamas spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanoo called for a unified Arab position in order to stop all forms of normalization and to end what he described as "cacophonous voices" out of the UAE, especially after it was revealed that a number of Emirati officials had participated in several meetings on normalization with the Tel Aviv regime.

Qanoo also lambasted the presence of UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash in the annual American Jewish Committee Virtual Global Forum 2020, which opened on June 14 and wrapped up on June 18, as well as an op-ed written by Emirati Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba in Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper, which promoted normalization with Israel.

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