On Monday, the UAE cancelled planned meeting with US and Israel over differences on the possible sale of American F-35 fighter jets to the Gulf State opposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Donald Trump announced that an agreement is under review for the UAE to buy fighter jets and US defense official hinted that a deal could be reached in six months. Till now, US has sold F-35 jets to allies including South Korea, Japan and Israel. But sales to the Gulf require a deeper review because of American policy for Israel to maintain a military advantage in the Middle east.
Axios, the US news website, reported, the UAE shelved a planned meeting with the US and Israel on Friday, after Netanyahu came out publicly to deny knowledge of the proposed arms deal between Washington, DC and Abu Dubai. According to Axio, the Emirates wanted to send a message adding that the Gulf state felt that Netanyahu’s statement violated an understanding between them, following their historic announcement on August 13 of the normalization of diplomatic ties.
The report said, “They were particularly angry that he told members of his Cabinet that he would raise his concerns about the deal with members of congress. The F-35 deal is a top priority for the UAE which considers it as linked to the normalization accord with Israel. Mike Pompeo, US Secretary is currently in the Middle East to promote the agreement between UAE and Israel, which was brokered by officials of the Trump administration. he also said that the US would ensure Israel retains a military advantage in the region.
Pompeo, after a meeting with Netanyahu said “The UAE has a legal requirement with respect to qualitative military edge. We will continue to honor that.” Netanyahu said, he had been reassured on the issue by Pompeo who had began his tour in Jerusalem.
Pompeo said, “We are deeply committed to doing that, to achieving that and we will do it in a way that preserves our commitment to Israel and I am confident that objective will be achieved.”
Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator said in an interview with Reuters that, “Recruiting Arabs to recognize Israel and open embassies does not make Israel a winner. You are putting the whole region in a lose-losr situation because you are designing the road for a forever conflict in the region.”