The US has told the United Arab Emirates that it will sanction the sale of advanced F-35 jets as part of a confidential clause in the Persian Gulf state agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.
The sale of the advanced weapons systems to the UAE would jeopardize Israeli military superiority in the region, a status that has been poorly maintained by the US and Israel since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel was not prepared for an attack by four Arab armies.
In a surprise announcement last Thursday, President Trump revealed that he had reached a historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which, like most Arab countries, the state of Israel has never recognized.
In an interview, Nahum Barnea, a veteran Israeli political reporter who revealed the apparent clause, said UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed asked for access to the advanced jets and drones before agreeing to consider opening a peace deal with Israel.
President Trump could try to use the agreement to embrace opposition in Congress, in which a bipartisan alliance halted a $ 7 billion arms deal with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, calling Trump a major foreign policy coup had pronounced.
It is also possible that negotiators left the UAE under the impression that they were allowed to buy the F-35s, even though US and Israeli officials knew that the sale would eventually be blocked.
In May, the Trump administration called for a similarly used emergency facility to give Trump permission to sell a deal with precision-guided ammunition and the F-35 to the Gulf powers, but the deal with Israel, which was widely cited as a breakthrough for Middle Eastern peace, could provide a smoother path.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed resolutions aimed at blocking the sale, which Trump vetoed.
Last week, the state department inspector general concluded that the emergency declaration complied with the law, but failed to take appropriate measures to minimize civilian casualties.
Netanyahu’s tacit agreement would remove nearly 50 years of Israeli opposition to the sale of strategically advanced weapons systems to other countries in the region.
The US, Israel’s closest ally, has traditionally deviated from the sale of advanced weapons systems to Arab countries, calling Israel’s existential need to maintain ‘qualitative advantage’ because of Israel’s regional military superiority in US policy circles. .
In helping pave a potential path for Trump to push through sales, Netanyahu would also seek to allay the concerns of his own military leaders and his defense and foreign ministers, who are essential members of the fragile coalition government that he leads.
In a statement calling the revelation “false news”, Netanyahu said “the historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates did not include an Israeli agreement on a single armed deal between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.”
That’s true as far as it goes, Barnea told The Daily Beast. “Netanyahu has opted out of selling the F-35 while retaining the right to oppose it, in a more lenient manner, once the sale is made public,” he said.
“During the tripartite negotiations, Netanyahu came to understand that the Israeli veto was over, but he retained the right to oppose the deal, while all three sides knew that the armed deal would now take place.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a former military chief of staff, blamed Netanyahu’s failure to negotiate the talks, and said at a news conference that Israel would not agree to such a sale under his watch. “We will continue to exercise rigorous protection of Israel’s regional military superiority as long as I am the Minister of Defense.”
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, a fellow member of Gantz’s Blue and White Party, said: “We did not include any knowledge of security insurance in the agreement with the UAE, and if there were any, they were not made in collaboration with us. “
Since the announcement of the peace deal, Netanyahu has struggled to contain the wrath of his right-wing base over the stipulation of an unsigned agreement that Israel should “temporarily suspend” its plans to annex part of the entire occupied West Bank, which it is claimed by the Palestinians.
The promise of annexation, as “the establishment of Israeli sovereignty”, has been Netanyahu’s main election campaign since 2015.