Israeli Prime Minister Secretively Approved US-UAE Arms Deal
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secretively condoned the sale of advanced US weapons to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after having previously rejected it publicly.
Earlier in August, the US had announced the normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel. Soon after the peace agreement was made public, reports revealed that both the countries were already caught between a diplomatic breakthrough after Israel showed reluctance over the UAE purchasing F-35 stealth fighters and armed drones from the US.
The Trump administration pushed for an arms sale to the UAE soon after the UAE-Israel tensions resolved. With this diplomatic agreement, the UAE became the first Gulf state to normalise ties with Israel. Several other Gulf nations showed willingness later to join the league.
The arms deal included the sale of F-35 stealth fighters, EA-18G Growler jets and armed drones. The US officials claimed that the weapons deal was not a direct reward for the UAE agreeing to normalise ties with Israel, but confirmed that the country’s agreement had softened US’s opposition to such sales.
However, the Israeli prime minister has previously called reports of the sales “fake news” and insisted that his country would never support a deal under those circumstances. The officials have said that Netanyahu has agreed on the weapons sales deal in an effort to normalise relations between Israel and the UAE and put the rumours of a diplomatic breakthrough to rest.
Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer said that it is “not true” that the Israeli prime minister has signed off on the sale. Dermer added he remains confident the Trump administration “is fully committed to maintaining” the Israeli military advantage.
Contradicting the Israeli ambassador’s statements, Hussein Ibish, a scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, revealed that his sources from Israel, the UAE and the US have confirmed that the Israeli prime minister had approved the sale but needed to save face.
“I’ve heard it from parties on all three sides that he gave a green light on this,” Ibish said.
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