Ahead of F-35 sale to UAE, Pentagon pledges to keep Israel strong


The United States recommitted itself to maintaining Israel’s military dominance in the Middle East Thursday during a visit to the Pentagon by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the two sides said.

With Washington gearing up to sell advanced F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates Israel is the only country in the Middle East to have the aircraft — Gantz received assurances from US Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Israel’s “qualitative military edge” would not suffer.

“I want to state, again, how committed we are to Israel’s qualitative military edge when it comes to defense sales, and our commitment to Israel’s security, which has been longstanding and it’s guaranteed and ironclad,” Esper said as the two met.

In his second meeting in Washington with Esper in a month, Gantz said the two had been in discussions for weeks to “assure the bipartisan commitment for Israel’s security.”

After their meeting Gantz tweeted that the two sides had signed “a joint declaration confirming the United States‘ strategic commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East for years to come.”

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.

Source : Agencies