“Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went along with Washington’s plan to sell advanced weapons to the United Arab Emirates [UAE] behind closed doors, despite his public opposition to the arms deal, The New York Times reported late Thursday, citing officials familiar with the negotiations.
The newspaper reported that Netanyahu willingly chose not to try to block the deal while taking part in the effort to establish diplomatic ties with the UAE at the same time, the sources said. US President Donald Trump announced the normalization deal with the “Israeli” entity last month, without mentioning the arms sale discussions that were taking place between the US and the Emirates concurrently.
The sources said that Netanyahu lied when he said last month that the agreement to normalize relations with the UAE does not include an “Israeli” agreement for weapons sales between the Gulf state and the US. “The peace agreement with the UAE does not include any clauses on the matter, and the United States clarified to Israel that it will always safeguard ‘Israel’s’ qualitative edge,” Netanyahu said at the time.
According to the report, in addition to F-35 fighter jets and Reaper drones, the deal also involves the sale of EA-18G Growler jets, an electronic warfare plane that can jam enemy air defenses. The only other country that possesses the Growler is Australia, the newspaper said.
The “Israeli” entity’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, denied that Netanyahu gave approval to American officials for a weapons deal involving F-35s. He added that he was confident the Trump administration “is fully committed to maintaining ‘Israel’s’ military advantage in the region,” The New York Times reported.
The report further said that dozens of Emirati officials traveled to Washington last week to meet with military and diplomatic officials to discuss the weapons package and the agreement with the “Israeli” entity.
Bibi’s office said last month that Netanyahu “has opposed the sale of F-35 jets and other advanced weapons of any sort in the Middle East, including Arab states that make ‘peace’ with the ‘State of “Israel”’.” He added that he has expressed this position in past months to US Ambassador to the “Israeli” entity David Friedman and to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“Israeli” officials involved in the progressing relations between the “Israeli” entity and the UAE said that the entity had not changed its longstanding opposition to selling F-35 jets and other advanced weapons to the Gulf state, despite the accord, according to Haaretz.
Since the announcement of the deal between the “Israeli” entity and the UAE, several sources who had been previously involved in contacts between the two countries raised concerns that as part of the new understandings, Netanyahu may have abandoned the entity’s traditionally vehement opposition to the sale of sensitive military equipment and technology to the UAE, particularly the F-35 advanced fighter jet.
These sources expressed fear that during the talks with the UAE, there may have been a secret agreement made on this issue without informing the entity’s top military officials, who have been excluded until now from the talks.