Israel’s defense establishment is preparing for the possibility that the United States will agree to sell advanced weapon systems to further Arab states in the Middle East, as part of their agreement to sign a peace agreement or normalization with Israel.
These fears were prompted by the willingness of the U.S. to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a move which many Israeli defense and military officials warned could erode Israel's military qualitative edge in the region.
In recent days, Israel has sent out messages to Washington, asking the United States to remain vigilant and aid the Jewish state in keeping its military advantage in the Middle East.
Israel’s pleas may end up colliding with feverish U.S.-led negotiations seeking to strike further peace agreements between Israel and other Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Oman and Kuwait.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz arrived in Washington on Tuesday where he met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to discuss the preservation of Israel's qualitative edge in the region amid the new political developments and those to come.
Following the meeting, Esper publicly pledged to Gantz that the United States will actively preserve the IDF's military advantage in the area.
It now appears that under the forming agreements, additional Arab states will be eligible to purchase advanced weapons from the U.S. such as the F-35 stealth aircraft, albeit equipped with less advanced internal systems than the ones in Israel’s arsenal.
Israel mainly fears future turnarounds in these countries, as had already happened during the Arab Spring when Mubarak's Egypt fell to the control of the radical Muslim Brotherhood.
As compensation, Israel is expected to demand advanced U.S.-made aircrafts such as F-15 and F-35 fighter jets, transport helicopters, and probably also a V-22 helicopter.
Israel's demands intensified after a Reuters report published this week, claiming the U.S. and UAE are expected to sign an arms deal on the sale of F-35 fighter jets by December, with silent agreement from Israel.