Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressly authorized an arms deal between the United States and the United Arab Emirates as part of the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel, The New York Times reports, and then lied by denying this. According to multiple sources in Washington, Netanyahu, without consulting or notifying any Israeli defense officials or military personnel, agreed to lift the country’s historic opposition to the sale of advanced weaponry, including the F-35 stealth fighter, to Arab nations. When news of an apparent about-face broke two weeks ago, Netanyahu vehemently denied the accusations, causing friction between Israel and the UAE, which had been taken by surprise. According to the Times piece, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his visit to Jerusalem last week, instructed Netanyahu to cease commenting on the matter in an effort to prevent tensions that might endanger the weapons deal and even the normalization agreement.
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