Contrary to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s repeated denials, it appears that the recently signed Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates were directly linked to the imminent sale of F-35 advanced stealth fighter jets by the United States to the UAE. According to the Reuters news agency, the two sides to the deal hope to finalize it in time for the UAE’s National Day on December 2. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who is also alternate prime minister but was not privy to the normalization agreement with the UAE prior to its announcement in mid-August, flew to Washington on Tuesday and met with his counterpart, Mark Esper. Gantz is expected to demand that the US tweak the planes so as to make them visible to Israeli radar or otherwise inferior to the Jewish state’s own F-35s. The US has a long-standing policy of maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge while selling weapons to Arab nations. The UAE will be the first Arab state to operate F-35s if the deal goes through.
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