בני גנץ
Defense Minister Benny Gantz
Photo: Elad Malka
Defense Minister Benny Gantz

Defense chief sees 'special security arrangement' with Gulf allies

Gantz says Jerusalem was pursuing security ties with Gulf Arab countries who share common concern about Iranian threat, downplaying reports of a potential defense pact

Reuters |
Published: 03.02.21 , 17:15
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Tuesday Israel intends to develop a "special security arrangement" with Gulf Arab allies, who share common concerns over Iran.
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  • The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established formal relations with Israel last year. As part of their U.S.-backed rapprochement, Israel and the UAE have proposed defense and military cooperation.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בני גנץ
    בני גנץ
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Elad Malka)
    In a visit to an Israel-Gaza border crossing, Gantz played down a report by public radio Kan that Israel was considering a defense agreement with Gulf Arab countries, but said security ties would be pursued.
    "I don't think it's going to be a defense pact but we are going to develop defense relations with every country that we have relations with," Gantz told Reuters.
    "We have this process of setting up (a) special security arrangement, and within this arrangement, we can continue and develop our relations," he said.
    Gantz declined to go into details on what such an arrangement would entail.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    US President Donald J. Trump (L) speaks as (2L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony
    US President Donald J. Trump (L) speaks as (2L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with UAE, Bahrain foreign ministers during the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    (Photo: AP)
    Gantz further signaled that Israel had no opposition to the sale of 50 Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth jets to the UAE in a deal approved during former U.S. President Donald Trump's last days in office.
    The deal is now under review by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration.
    Asked about Israel's view of the sale, Gantz said Israel's "qualitative military edge" must be preserved by the United States, adding that the advanced warplane was already in the country's arsenal.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    F-35 מטוס קרב
    F-35 מטוס קרב
    A Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jet
    (Photo: AP)
    On Monday, the UAE's ambassador to Israel took up his post, pledging to build up new bilateral relations. Israel opened an embassy in Abu Dhabi in January.
    Their so-called U.S.-brokered "Abraham Accords", joined by Bahrain, have uncorked tourism and commerce between Israel and Gulf Arab countries. Palestinians have been critical of the rapprochement, worried that their own unmet statehood goal might be sidelined.
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