The Emirates has long sought to procure the advanced F-35 fighters, but inviting a Gulf Arab country into the programme would mark the reversal of a decades-long US policy of preserving Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied reports that his cabinet has given a go-ahead for the sale of fifth-generation US jets under the recent deal with the United Arab Emirates.
“The historic peace agreement between israel and the United Arab Emirates did not include any Israeli agreement on any arms deal between the United States and the United Arab Emirates,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.
The prime minister’s office added that Netanyahu’s position has not changed, and that he voiced “consistent opposition” to any transfer of the jets to the UAE as recently as a 2 June meeting of Israel’s National Security Council and during a conversation with US envoy to Israel, David Friedman, on 7 July.
The comments came in response to a report in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, which cited unnamed American and UAE officials as claiming that the Arab kingdom had conditioned the entire peace agreement with israel on the go-ahead for the purchase of the much-desired jets.
On 13 August, the UAE became a third Arab nation, after Egypt and Jordan, to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. The accord capped years of covertly…