Photo: Flash90

Israel downplays US arms halt

Israeli leaders are minimizing ramifications posed by the administration of United States President Joe Biden that it intends to review the sale of weapons to the United Arab Emirates.

The deal was authorized by former US leader Donald Trump, as part of last year’s Abraham Accords to normalize Israeli-UAE relations. It notably included the first-ever sale of F-35 warplanes and other weaponry to any nation in the Middle East other than Israel.

The State Department declared on Wednesday that there would be a temporary pause of some pending arms sales to US allies. Officials stressed that reviews of this kind are ‘routine’ during the transition of a new president.

The UAE said it had anticipated the move, and vowed to work closely with the Biden administration.

After initially voicing misgivings over the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Premier and Defense Minister Benny Gantz relented, following Trump administration reassurance of the US commitment to ensuring the Jewish State would maintain its Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the region.

When asked by reporters if the review might set back Israel’s efforts to build up relations with the UAE and other Arab countries, Netanyahu replied: “I don’t think so. I think we have passed the point of no-return.”

In reference to his nation’s recent peace pacts with 4 Arab states, Netanyahu added, “I think everyone understands now after Mohammed bin Zayed, the King of Bahrain, took this historic step, so did the King of  Morocco and so did the leaders of  Sudan, now it is already in a different stage. Everyone understands that there are huge advantages here – it’s peace in exchange for peace, peace in exchange for prosperity, peace in exchange for progress, peace in exchange for technology, peace in exchange for a future.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu then expressed his belief that the UAE arms deal will ultimately be approved by the new US administration.

This view was echoed by Israeli Defense Minister Gantz, who said, “Everyone understands that there are huge advantages here. It’s peace in exchange for peace … I think it’ll move ahead.”

Gantz also described the review as a “routine” procedure.