Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday evening that Israel will not oppose the United States’ sale of advanced American weapons, including F-35s (F-35s), to the UAE.
“Israel will not oppose the sale of these systems to the United Arab Emirates,” he said in a statement commenting on the visit of his government defense minister, Benny Gantz, to Washington this week to discuss selling such weapons to the UAE, including F-35s.
This statement by the Israeli Prime Minister came a few minutes after Washington announced the normalization agreement between Israel and Sudan, which has become the third Arab country to officially recognize Israel since the beginning of the year, after the UAE and Bahrain.
The issue of selling US F-35 fighter jets to the UAE was a point of contention in the normalization agreement between the two countries. Israeli officials fear that their country will lose its military technological advantage in the Middle East.
Israel has reiterated its need to maintain its military advantage even since the establishment of formal relations with the UAE and Bahrain under two agreements brokered by the United States last month.
Since the 1960s, the United States has maintained a policy of “qualitative military advantage” or “military qualitative advantage”, according to which Washington guarantees Israel the possession of the best military equipment in the region.
After its passage in Congress, this feature became a law two years ago and the United States must ensure that, when selling weapons to a country in the Middle East, Israel remains in a position to defend itself if these weapons fall into the wrong hands.
Netanyahu said he had received a guarantee that “the United States will modernize Israel’s military capabilities and maintain its qualitative military advantage,” and thus “not oppose” the sale of military equipment to the UAE.