Why sale of F-35s to UAE threatens Israel peace agreement

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Aug 21, 2020, 07:54 AM(IST)

F-35 aircraft (File photo) Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Trump administration is considering the sale of F-35 to the UAE, Washington's reward to the kingdom for normalising relations with Israel

The skies above the Middle East appear poised to host one of the world's most advanced aircraft. The F-35 fighter jets are said to be the most dominant aircraft ever built. 

With a speed of Mach 1.6, these jets have the capability of jamming radars and disrupting attacks. 

Also read | 'They would like to buy F-35s': After peace accord with Israel, Trump puts fighter jets 'under review' for UAE

The Trump administration is considering the sale of F-35 to the UAE, Washington's reward to the Kingdom for normalising relations with Israel. 

"So, yeah, they'd (UAE) like to buy F-35s. We'll see what happens. It's under review," US President Donald Trump said. 

Also read | Peace must be achieved with Palestinians, then all things possible: Saudi Arabia on Israel

The deal is "under review" for now but has triggered a diplomatic row already. Israeli media first reported the story and the developments so far indicate that Israel is not happy. 

They has called it a "secret clause" which was part of the diplomatic agreement between Israel and the Emirates." 

However, the Israeli government has rubbished the report as "fake news". So far, the F-35s have only been offered to US's NATO allies and three other close partners, Japan, Israel and South Korea. 

Therefore, for Israel, this stealth fighter has been a potent tool for maintaining military supremacy in West Asia. 

The country has always been against providing such military capability to its neighbours since for Israel today's Arab friend could become tomorrow's enemy. 

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has expressed his government's disappointment in clear words. 

"I'm telling you that we must not take any security risks. At the same time I repeatedly tell you that we should promote this agreement. I will speak to the Emirates' defence minister, just as (Israeli Foreign Minister) Gabi (Ashkenazi) spoke to the Emirates' foreign minister. We will support this governmental effort and will verify, and verify well, that our security interests are maintained. It is possible to sign a peace agreement while showing security responsibility, (or even) not just "possible" - we must sign a peace agreement while showing security responsibility," Gantz said. 

It's less than a week since the historic peace deal between Israel and UAE was signed and it seems that the agreement has already hit its first roadblock. 

Now, Washington has to decide whether it is willing to undercut Israel's military edge it once vowed to uphold. 

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