Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who stayed in Israel while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Washington for the signing ceremony with the UAE and Bahrain, had qualified praise for the historic event on Tuesday.
“I can only praise this,” Gantz said, but then went on to express concern about the sale of advanced weapons to the UAE and the potentially adverse impact on hopes for peace with the Palestinians.
Gantz termed the proposed sale of F-35 fighter jets to Abu Dhabi a “serious matter” that could harm Israel’s military advantage in the region. He said he intends to consult with the Pentagon to clarify the matter. The U.S. is legally bound to preserve Israel’s “Qualitative Military Edge.”
However, the defense minister acknowledged that “it is an American prerogative — not an Israeli prerogative — to decide whom to sell [the F-35 to].”
President Donald Trump said again on Tuesday that the U.S. is considering such an arms transfer.
Gantz also said that the benefits of normalization should not obscure the fact that it’s “also important to make peace with our [Palestinian] neighbors” and called for renewing diplomatic efforts.