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Netanyahu: UAE deal does not include sale of F-35 jets

Israel has opposed a potential US arms sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE despite its recent deal normalising ties with the Emirates

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stressed that the deal to normalise relations with the UAE does not include the sale of US F-35 fighter jets to the Gulf state, Anadolu reported yesterday.

In a statement, Netanyahu's office said the agreement did not include "any approval by Israel on any arms deal between the United States and the United Arab Emirates."

Netanyahu said he directed Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Drammer, on 3 August to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to convey an explicit message of Israel's opposition to selling the F-35 and other advanced weapon systems to any country in the Middle East.

"The peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates does not include any clause in this regard, and the United States made it clear to Israel that it will always ensure that Israel gets the qualitative advantage," he added.

READ: Controversial UAE cleric apologises to Israelis for past remarks

In 2016, Israel began receiving F-35 fighter jets from the US.

Last week, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv's planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.

Netanyahu repeated on Monday that annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.

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