An F-35 fighter jet
An F-35 fighter jet
Photo: Lockheed Martin
An F-35 fighter jet

U.S. to sell F-35 jets to UAE as part of secret clause in Israel ties agreement

Sale of advanced weapons systems to United Arab Emirates that could end Israeli military superiority in the region was a condition imposed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed before deal could be finalized

Nahum Barnea |
Published: 08.18.20 , 09:45
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is set to sell F-35 fighter jets and advanced drones to the UAE in a secret clause that was part of the agreement to establish diplomatic ties between Israel and the Gulf nation.
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  • The clause lifts long-standing Israeli opposition to the sale of the strategic weapons systems to other countries in the region, according to U.S. and Emirati sources.
    An F-35 fighter jet An F-35 fighter jet
    An F-35 fighter jet
    (Photo: Lockheed Martin)
    The United States had traditionally refrained from selling advanced weapons systems to Arab countries to maintain Israeli military superiority.
    The establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE was announced earlier this month, in a deal that includes the suspension of Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
    דונלד טראמפדונלד טראמפ
    U.S. President Donald Trump announcing the Israel-UAE peace deal
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    The sources confirmed that Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed conditioned the agreement on the multi-billion-dollar arms sale.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that the annexation was still on the table at a later date despite the agreement to halt the move.
    But UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said last week that the agreement dealt annexation a "death blow" and White House aide Jared Kushner said Monday that the U.S. would not be giving approval for such a move "for some time."
    Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign AffairsAnwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
    UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash
    (Photo: AFP)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in response that there has been no change in Israel's position opposing the sale of tie-breaking weapons to any Mideast nation.
    In the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the United States gave assurances to Israel that it would be able to maintain military superiority and that no sale of advanced weapons systems would be made to any other Middle East country without Israel's agreement.
    These assurances had been observed ever since, until the U.S. deal.
    Trump had publicly stated his intention to sell strategic weapons to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, but was blocked after Congress passed an arms embargo on such a sale last year.

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