Israel ‘will not oppose’ advanced US arms sales to UAE

Netanyahu said his country would not oppose US sales of advanced weapon systems to the UAE, apparently referring to F-35 fighter planes. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 October 2020

Israel ‘will not oppose’ advanced US arms sales to UAE

  • Israel has long opposed the sale of the fighter planes to any US allies in the region including Egypt and Jordan
  • Gantz has received assurances from Esper that Israel’s “qualitative military edge” would not suffer

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday his country would not oppose US sales of advanced weapon systems to the UAE, apparently referring to F-35 fighter planes.
“The prime minister and the defense minister both agree that since the US is upgrading Israel’s military capability and maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, Israel will not oppose the sale of these systems to the UAE,” the premier said in a joint statement with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Gantz held talks in the Pentagon Thursday where he got assurances from US Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Israel’s “qualitative military edge” would not suffer.
Israel has made its concerns clear following President Donald Trump’s confirmation last month that the United States could sell F-35s to the UAE.
It has long opposed the sale of the fighter planes to any US allies in the region including Egypt and Jordan, both of which have peace treaties with Israel.
Israel has already received a first consignment of F-35s, which are coveted by Gulf powers including the UAE.
The Netanyahu-Gantz statement came minutes after the announcement in Washington of the normalization of relations between Israel and Sudan.
It is the third Arab country to officially recognize the Jewish state this year, following the UAE and Bahrain.

Related


Lebanon to ease virus curbs from Monday

Updated 29 November 2020

Lebanon to ease virus curbs from Monday

  • Schools would also reopen but with some classes still held online
  • Restaurants will reopen at 50% capacity, but bars and nightclubs will remain closed and weddings prohibited

BEIRUT: Lebanon is from Monday to gradually ease restrictions imposed two weeks ago after a surge in coronavirus infections, in a bid to relieve its struggling economy in time for the festive season, officials said.
Acting health minister Hamad Hassan told reporters the country “will gradually reopen from Monday” to give citizens and businesses a respite ahead of Christmas and end of year holidays.
He said restaurants will reopen at 50 percent capacity, but bars and nightclubs will remain closed and weddings prohibited, while an overnight curfew will start from 11 p.m. instead of 5pm.
Schools would also reopen but with some classes still held online, Hassan said after a meeting of Lebanon’s coronavirus task force.
He warned that the “danger” of a rise in infections still exists and that the hoped-for results to stem the virus thanks to the curbs would not be known for several days.
Before the two-week restrictions went into force in mid-November, bed occupancy in hospital intensive care units was between 80 and 90 percent while “now it stands at 65-70 percent,” Hassan said.
Since February, the country has recorded more than 125,000 Covid-19 cases, including around 1,000 deaths.
Lebanon, with a population of around six million, had been recording some 11,000 coronavirus infections on average each week before mid-November, according to the health ministry.
A first country-wide lockdown imposed in March was effective in stemming the spread of the virus, before restrictions were gradually lifted as summer beckoned people outdoors.
But the number of cases surged following a monstrous blast at Beirut’s port on August 4 that killed more than 200 people, wounded at least 6,500 and overwhelmed hospitals.
The blast and the pandemic have exacerbated tensions in the Mediterranean country which has been grappling with its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.