MYTH: Palestinians care more about saving lives than boycotting Israel.


Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir is reputed to have said,

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Since her time, the truthfulness of those words has been demonstrated repeatedly. and it was again last month when the Palestinian Authority said it would refuse to accept 14 tons of medical supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic because it was delivered by the United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airways through Israel (Dion Nissenbaum, U.A.E. Flies Coronavirus Aid for Palestinians in First Known Commercial Flight to Israel,” Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2020).

Palestinian health minister Mai Kaila said the PA refused the shipment because the UAE failed to coordinate with them. Other sources said the Palestinians objected because the direct flight to Israel “constitutes a cover for normalization” (“Palestinian Authority rejects UAE aid sent via Israeli airport,” Al Jazeera, May 21, 2020).

A cargo plane operated by Etihad Airways offloads aid related to the coronavirus disease for Palestinians, at Ben Gurion Airport [Israel Airports Authority via Reuters]
The decision did not hurt Israel or deter the UAE from improving ties with Israel. It did, however, increase the risk to Palestinians of becoming infected and possibly dying of the coronavirus, and angered many people in the UAE.  Prof. Abdul Khaleq Abdullah said the PA acted “out of spite” and “reflects political stupidity from a flabby leadership.” UAE political analyst Majed al-Raeesi tweeted:

“Aid in the form of tons of medical supplies is not important. If the assistance was in the form of money/dollars, it wouldn’t have been rejected. May God help ordinary Palestinians against the thieves of the Palestinian Authority” (Khaled Abu Toameh, “UAE activists rail against Palestinians for rejecting medical supplies,” Jerusalem Post, May 23, 2020).

Meanwhile, despite expecting others to boycott Israel, the Palestinians have accepted aid directly from Israel to fight the pandemic.  They also accepted supplies from Turkey that came through Israel.

Palestinian President Abbas says accords with Israel, US are void. credit: Al Jazeera

That cooperation may cease, however, because of another self-defeating decision by the Palestinians. To show their displeasure with Israel’s consideration of applying sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced his intention to withdraw from all agreements with Israel.  One of those agreements involves coordination with Israel to allow Palestinians to seek medical care in Israel’s world-class hospitals.  Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said Palestinians will now have to seek care in the PA or, if they live in Gaza, coordinate treatment with Egypt or the UN (Jack Khoury, “Palestinian PM: PA Will Prevent Chaos After Ending Security Coordination With Israel,” Haaretz, May 26, 2020).

Yet again, Palestinian leaders are demonstrating that rhetoric and empty gestures are more important than peace and the lives of their people.


Published by the Jewish Virtual Library; Myths & Facts.

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