The United States will ensure Israel retains a military advantage in the Middle East under any future US arms deals with the United Arab Emirates, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.
“The United States has a legal requirement with respect to qualitative military edge. We will continue to honor that,” Pompeo told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Delighted to be in Israel following the announcement of the Abraham Accords. This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East and is a testament to the vision of @IsraeliPM @netanyahu, Crown Prince @MohamedBinZayed, and President @realDonaldTrump. pic.twitter.com/1LF4sZUGzt
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 24, 2020
Netanyahu said he had been reassured on the issue by Pompeo, who began a Middle East visit that will showcase US support for Israeli-Arab peace efforts and building a front against Iran. It will also include Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
A US-brokered deal on normalizing relations between Israel and the UAE was announced on August 13. But there has been some dissent in Israel over the prospect of the Gulf power now obtaining advanced US weaponry such as the F-35 stealth fighter jet.
Pompeo said Washington had provided the UAE with military support for more than 20 years, measures he described as needed to stave off shared threats from Iran – also Israel’s rival.
“We’re deeply committed to doing that, to achieving that, and we’ll do it in a way that preserves our commitment to Israel and I’m confident that objective will be achieved,” Pompeo said.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached on August 13 a deal that is expected to lead to “full normalization of relations” between the Arab nation and Israel in an agreement that United States President Donald Trump reportedly helped broker.
The agreement is considered a severe blow to Palestinian efforts aimed at isolating Israel regionally and internationally until it ends its military occupation and apartheid-like system in occupied Palestine.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)