Israel announces new collaboration with UAE to fight coronavirus

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that his country will cooperate with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to halt the coronavirus outbreak in the region.

The rare collaboration between the two countries, which have no official ties, will focus on research and development and technology.

“In a few moments, the UAE and Israel will announce cooperation in the fight against coronavirus,” Netanyahu told an air force pilots’ course graduation ceremony at a base near Tel Aviv.

He added that the new partnership came after “prolonged and intense discussions in recent months.”

He said he hopes it will “bring blessing to many in our area” and “will improve health security throughout the region.”

The move is the latest sign of the warming ties between Israel and states of the Gulf.

In May, several commercial flights landed in Israel for the first time, carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave that has been under Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007.

The partnership came also as Israel was pushing forward plans to annex a portion of the occupied West Bank, a move condemned by the Palestinians and the international community and triggering warning of sparking a new wave of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.