Tel Aviv, Oct 24 (IANS) Israel will not oppose the sale of “certain weapon systems” to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in light of a promise by the US to upgrade Israel’s military edge in the Middle East, a joint statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz said.
The “certain weapon systems” is an apparent reference to the advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets, Xinhua news agency reported citing Israeli media reports as saying.
The joint statement was published on Friday upon Gantz’s return from US where he met with US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and signed a deal “to secure Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge”.
The understandings reached by Gantz and Esper “will allow the procurement of advanced weapon systems that will significantly upgrade Israel’s military capabilities, maintain its security and its military advantage in the region as well as its qualitative military edge in the coming decades”, said the statement.
It added that Israel was notified by US administration of its plans to notify Congress of its intention to provide certain weapon systems to the UAE.
Netanyahu and Gantz both agree that since US is upgrading Israel’s military capability and is maintaining the military edge, the country will not oppose the sale of these systems to the UAE, said the statement.
Netanyahu made a statement saying Israel opposes any sale of F-35 war jets to the UAE on August 18 after Yediot Aharonot, one of Israel’s largest daily newspapers, reported that the White House plans a “giant” deal to sell F-35 war jets to the UAE.
The UAE signed normalization deal with Israel at the White House on September 15.
It is the first Arab nation in 26 years to establish formal ties with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.