Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu MORE privatized the sale of advanced US weapons in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite publicly opposing the agreement, sources told The New York Times.
Officials say the Israeli prime minister allowed the sales in a bid to “normalize” relations between his country and the emirate before news of the diplomatic revelation was made public late last month, according to the newspaper.
President TrumpDonald Trump’s mayor announces ban on several “peaceful” nights MSNBC’s Joy Reid admits it “framed” Muslim comments “did not work” win re-election MORE announced in August that the UAE would extend recognition to Israel in exchange for the promised end to Israeli annexation of West Bank territory.
Following the announcement of the diplomatic agreement, the Trump administration launched an arms deal with the UAE that would include the purchase of F-35 fighter jets and armed aircraft. according to the Times.
The U.S. deal also reportedly includes a previously unnamed shipment of EA-18G Growler aircraft, the Times reported.
Netanyahu has previously called for sales reports “Fake news” and insisted that Israel would not support an agreement under these circumstances. However, officials who spoke to the Times refuted his public statements.
U.S. officials said the deal was not a direct reward for the United Arab Emirates, which agreed to recognize Israel, but said the deal had softened US opposition to such sales.
The deal is still on the rise in Congress over anti-arms laws that undermine Israel’s advantage, according to the Times.
Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said in a statement that “it is not true” that Netanyahu signed the sale. Dermer added that he remains convinced that the Trump administration is “fully committed to maintaining” Israel’s military advantage.
Hussein Ibis, a researcher at the Gulf State Institute in Washington, told the Times that he had heard from sources in all three nations that the Israeli prime minister had approved the sale, but had to save face.
“I have heard from parties on all three sides that it gave the green light to this,” he said.