US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Israeli Defense Secretary Benny Gantz signed a joint declaration Thursday in Washington, which requires the United States to maintain Israel’s military superiority in the Middle East in the coming years.
This came according to a tweet that Gantz posted on his account on the social networking site Twitter, in which he stressed the importance of continuing cooperation between the two countries, at a time when the Middle East is witnessing an era of positive normalization processes, which could face Iranian aggression, he said.
Gantz did not provide further details, but Israeli media reported that the American commitment will continue for 4 years, that is, in theory, until the end of the second term of President Donald Trump if he is re-elected on the third of next November.
For his part, the US Secretary of Defense reaffirmed the US commitment to the security of Israel, and said he would like to remind once again the extent of Washington’s commitment to Israel’s qualitative military superiority in terms of defense sales.
“It was important for me to reaffirm the special relationship between our two countries,” Esper said.
“We are determined to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge in arms sales, and to reaffirm our long-term, secure and firm commitment to Israel’s security,” the US secretary added.
This signature came at a time when Israel was concerned that Washington might agree to Abu Dhabi’s request to purchase advanced F-35 stealth fighters.
Since the 1960s, the United States has ensured the preservation of Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the Middle East.
This policy was reinforced two years ago by a law stipulating that the US administration, when selling any weapon to another country in the region, ensures that Israel retains the ability to defend itself if this weapon falls into the wrong hands.
The issue of the US multi-role stealth fighters – which Abu Dhabi has long sought to buy from Washington – cast a shadow over the historic agreement to normalize relations that the UAE and Israel signed in the White House under Trump’s auspices.
Hours before the signing of the historic agreement, US President Donald Trump declared that he had “no problem” in selling these advanced fighters to the UAE, in a position that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposed, warning that such a deal might undermine his country’s military superiority in the region.