(September 4, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed a report in The New York Times that suggested he did not oppose the U.S. sale of F-35 fighter jets and radar-blocking planes to the United Arab Emirates as part of the normalization deal between the two countries.
“Repeating a false allegation against Prime Minister Netanyahu does not make it true,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. “At no point in the talks with the United States leading to the historic breakthrough with the United Arab Emirates on Aug. 13 did the prime minister give Israel’s consent to the sale of advanced weapons to the Emirates.”
On Thursday, the Times published a report that said Netanyahu had privately gone along with a plan by the Trump administration to sell the advanced weapons to the UAE, despite later publicly stating later that he opposed the arms deal. In addition to the advanced jets, the deal would also include radar-blocking EA-18G Growler jets and Reaper drones.
The report further stated that the Emiratis were “stunned” when Netanyahu made a public disavowal of a potential sale.
While the UAE is a close ally, the United States has long refused to sell F-35s to the Emiratis. Additionally, under U.S. law, any arms sales to Middle Eastern countries must not weaken Israel’s military edge in the region, also known as the qualitative military edge (QME). As such, Congress has the power to review all arms sales in the region.
While some in Israel, including opposition leaders, defense officials and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, have raised alarm about F-35 sales to UAE, others have noted that the jets would not erode Israel’s edge as they would be used to defend the UAE against a common enemy: Iran.
Despite the questions over the arms sales, Israel and the Emiratis further cemented the process towards normalization this week. An El Al plane from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi became the first commercial flight between the two countries. The flight, which carried several senior U.S. and Israeli officials, also made history by flying over Saudi airspace.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.
JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.
During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.
Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.