The Trump administration approved the sale of the fifth-gen fighter to Abu Dhabi in September 2020 in exchange for the sheikdom’s agreement to normalize ties with the Jewish State. Israel, the only country in the Middle East operating the F-35, quietly sought to block the jet’s sale, and then insisted that other factors were behind the peace deal.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has lauded the sale of F-35s to the United Arab Emirates as “a critical part” of the Abraham Accords, which normalised relations between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.
“The agreement to sell the planes proved to the Emirates that we have confidence in them,” Pompeo told ynetnews in an excerpt from an interview published Thursday.
The former Trump state department chief’s comments contradict previous statements on the matter by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, who have insisted and continue to insist that the F-35 was not part of normalisation from Tel Aviv’s perspective. Netanyahu repeatedly denied that his cabinet gave the go-ahead for the F-35s’ sale to Abu Dhabi, although other reports have indicated that his government tacitly approved the sale after being assured by the US that Israel’s military advantage would not be challenged. The Israeli leader also said that the accords were about “peace for peace,” rejecting the idea that Arab nations needed to be bribed to…