Report: UAE to get F-35’s as Part of Deal with Israel

  • Israeli newspaper revealed that the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE includes a secret clause that allows the UAE to acquire advanced American weapons.
  • Israeli officials confirmed their country's refusal to sell advanced American weapons to any of the Middle East countries.
  • Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said Tuesday that he is not aware of any change in the US policy against selling advanced weapons to Arab countries.

An Israeli newspaper revealed that the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates includes a secret clause that allows the UAE to acquire advanced American weapons. However, Israeli officials confirmed their country’s refusal to sell advanced American weapons to any Middle Eastern countries.

The Israel–United Arab Emirates peace agreement, or the Abraham Accord, was agreed to by Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 13, 2020. If an agreement is signed, the UAE will be the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to formally normalize its relationship with Israel, as well as the first Persian Gulf country to do so.

On Tuesday, the Israeli newspaper “Yediot Aharonot” revealed that the United States will sell F-35 fighters to the UAE after the peace agreement with Israel. According to the newspaper, the administration of US President Donald Trump will sell F-36 fighters and advanced unmanned aerial vehicles to the United Arab Emirates as part of an agreement to establish diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE.

The newspaper wrote, citing American and Emirati sources, that the agreement reached with the mediation of the United States included a secret clause whereby Israel would lift its opposition to the sale of strategic weapons systems.

The newspaper pointed out that selling advanced weapons systems to the UAE could mean the end of the Israeli military superiority in the region, noting that this was a condition imposed by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed before completing an agreement.

However, the newspaper quoted the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in response, saying that there has been no change in Israel’s position against selling advanced weapons, which guarantee Israeli military superiority, to any of the Middle Eastern countries.

“Israel did not Agree”

Yedioth Ahronoth (“Latest News”), is a national daily newspaper published in Tel Aviv, Israel. Founded in 1939 in Mandatory Palestine, Yedioth Ahronoth has been the largest newspaper in Israel by sales and circulation.

Commenting on the “Yediot Aharonot” report, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said Tuesday that he is not aware of any change in the US policy against selling advanced weapons to Arab countries that would reduce Israel’s military superiority.

According to understandings going back decades, the United States refrained from selling weapons to Middle Eastern countries that would undermine the “qualitative military distinction” of Israel.

Cohen, an observer in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, said that the council had not discussed any changes to the QME policy and that Israel had not agreed to any changes from the United States.

He added, speaking to the Israeli public broadcaster, Kan, “I know of no change to the position and the policy of the State of Israel.” He went on, “I am telling you that Israel has not given its consent to coming along and changing the arrangement.”

Cohen refused to talk about the UAE, which is currently unable to purchase F-35 planes, which the Trump administration said it would conclude a new arms deal with it, the details of which were not specified. The US embassy in Jerusalem said it had no immediate comment on the report.

For its part, Ha’aretz newspaper quoted prominent Israeli officials that Israel is still opposed to selling F-35 fighters to the UAE, and said Israel is pressuring the United States to prevent the sale of advanced fighters to the UAE despite the agreement to normalize relations.

However, Israeli officials told the newspaper that there are concerns that Netanyahu and those close to him had concluded a secret agreement without consulting with military officials.

Ha’aretz quoted unnamed sources as saying that Gulf countries, including the Emirates, had pressured Israel several times to end their objection to passing such deals. The newspaper said that question marks have been raised about the future of that Israeli opposition to such military sales in the Israeli media as well.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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