Israel won’t oppose US sale of ‘specific’ weapons to UAE, Netanyahu and Gantz say


TEL AVIV:

Israel will not oppose US sales of “specific weapons systems” to the United Arab Emirates, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Friday, in an apparent reference to F-35 warplanes sought by Abu Dhabi.

Under a principle of preserving Israel’s “qualitative military edge”, the United States consults with it on proposed sales of advanced arms to other countries in the region.

Israel has reiterated a need to maintain its military superiority even since forging official ties with the UAE and its fellow Gulf Arab state Bahrain under US-brokered deals last month.

Washington agreed to consider allowing the UAE to buy F-35 stealth jets in a side deal to a US-brokered agreement normalising ties between Israel and the UAE.

Gantz reached agreements in Washington this week with US Defence Secretary Mark Esper that he and Netanyahu, in a joint statement, said would significantly upgrade Israel’s military capabilities.

“Since the US is upgrading Israel’s military capability and is maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, Israel will not oppose the sale of these systems to the UAE,” they said.

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