UAE activists rail against Palestinians for rejecting medical supplies

"If the plane was carrying dollars, Abbas would have received it."

A boy wearing a face mask walks inside Jaramana Palestinian refugee camp, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Damascus, Syria April 1, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/OMAR SANADIKI)
A boy wearing a face mask walks inside Jaramana Palestinian refugee camp, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Damascus, Syria April 1, 2020
United Arab Emirates (UAE) political activists, academics and social media users have expressed outrage over the Palestinian Authority’s reported refusal to accept medical supplies from the Gulf state because they were delivered through Ben-Gurion Airport.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said last week that the UAE did not coordinate the delivery of the medical supplies with the Palestinians.
“We have heard in the news that there is a United Arab Emirates plane carrying medical supplies to the Palestinians,” Shtayyeh said. “This issue has never been coordinated with us and we have never been notified about it.”
Palestinians have accused the UAE of spearheading efforts to normalize relations between Arab states and Israel.  
The controversy surrounding the medical supplies has exacerbated tensions between the PA and UAE. Relations between the two sides have been tense since deposed Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan, an arch-rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, moved to the UAE in 2011. The PA has accused Dahlan of financial corruption and plotting to overthrow Abbas.
A senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post that the UAE medical supplies incident was a “set-up” designed to embarrass and defame Abbas and the Palestinian leadership. The official accused the UAE and Dahlan of “fabrications” and “lies” and said the medical supplies were intended for the Gaza Strip, and not the West Bank.
In the past few days, several UAE citizens took to Twitter and other social media platforms to hurl abuse at Abbas, holding him responsible for rejecting the medical supplies provided by their country to the Palestinians. They also cursed PA Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila for accusing the UAE of failing to coordinate the delivery of the medical supplies with the PA government and “compromising Palestinian sovereignty.”
Hamad al-Mazroui, a prominent UAE political activist, denounced Palestinian leaders as “whores” and “gypsies.”
He also took a shot at Abbas by posting a photo of Dahlan with the caption: “His Excellency Mohammed Dahlan, President of the State of Palestine.”
In another post, al-Mazroui called Abbas “shoes and a son of shoes.”
UAE writer and journalist Mohammed al-Hammadi scoffed at claims by the PA minister of health that the delivery of the medical supplies through Israel “compromised Palestinian sovereignty.”
Al-Hammadi pointed out that in the past the PA did not turn down Turkish aid delivered to the Palestinians through Israel.
Mahmoud al-Sahlawi, an economic expert from the UAE, said on Twitter: “The [UAE] assistance was rejected because it was intended for the health sector and for the benefit of patients. If the plane was carrying dollars, Mr. Abbas and his entourage would have been there to receive it.”
UAE political analyst, writer and strategic communication expert Majed al-Raeesi said in a Twitter post: “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.”
Al-Raeesi claimed that the PA refused to accept the medical supplies under pressure from Qatar and Turkey.
On June 5, 2017, the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. The UAE has been critical of Turkey’s backing of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.
Political Science Prof. Abdul Khaleq Abdullah of the UAE commented: “It’s now clear that the United Arab Emirates medical assistance was originally intended to help the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, which is in great need of it. The Palestinian Authority’s refusal to accept the medical supplies was done out of spite; it reflects political stupidity from a flabby leadership.”
Eyad Nasr, a spokesperson for Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, strongly condemned the UAE campaign of defamation against Abbas and the PA leadership. “This despicable campaign constitutes a departure from morality and culture,” Nasr said, referring to those behind the derogatory remarks as “thugs.”