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Israel PM privately approved US sell of F-35 to UAE

September 4, 2020 at 2:23 pm

A US-made F-35 Lightning fighter jet, built for the Australian Air Force, seen on 3 March 2019 [Recep Şakar/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu privately approved America’s sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, despite coming out against the deal publicly,  the New York Times reported late yesterday, citing officials familiar with the negotiations.

According to the report, Netanyahu chose not to try to block the deal during talks to establish diplomatic ties with the UAE.

On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.

After the diplomatic agreement was announced, the Trump administration pushed an arms deal with the UAE that would include the purchase of F-35 stealth fighters and armed drones, according to the Times.

The US deal also reportedly includes a previously-unreported shipment of EA-18G Growler jets, an electronic warfare plane that can jam enemy air defences, the paper added.

However 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.” Arms deals to the Middle East must be approved by Congress

“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: Trump expects Saudi Arabia to join UAE-Israel peace agreement