Netanyahu opposes Washington’s sale of F-35 advanced jets to the Gulf country.
Rabat – The UAE canceled on Friday a scheduled meeting with the US and Israel in an apparent signal of disapproval to Israel’s prime minister over his opposition to a pending F-35 arms deal.
The attendee list was United States Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Kraft, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Ardan, and UAE Ambassador to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh. The three countries’ ambassadors were scheduled to convene in New York on Friday.
Kraft initiated the meeting, meant to celebrate the normalization of Israel-UAE ties, according to Israeli online news outlet Walla! NEWS. The gathering was to “be solemn and public and included dissemination of photos to the media and a joint announcement.”
In what was possibly an election stunt by Trump, US officials leaked news about a possible arms deal with the UAE involving the coveted F-35 fighter jet last week. The UAE had been trying to purchase an F-35 for years.
According to Walla’s sources, “all parties had already confirmed the meeting and held talks on the details. However, UAE representatives then informed the US ambassador and the White House that the meeting was canceled until further notice.”
Three insiders confirmed, however, Netanyahu opposes Washington’s sale of F-35 advanced jets to the UAE, Walla! reported.
One source noted that “senior UAE officials decided to cancel the meeting to send a message to Israel that they were disappointed with Netanyahu’s public statements on the sale of the stealth [jets], and moreover that he intended to oppose the arms deal when it comes to the US Congress.”
There was some surprise with Netanyahu’s open opposition.
In recent weeks parties to the agreement were under the impression that even if Netanyahu preferred that the plane deal did not occur, he would not speak out publicly against it, the source added. “So when the prime minister expressed his opposition in public, the UAE felt he was acting contrary to the spirit of contacts between the parties.”
Canceling the tripartite meeting sends a clear message, according to the source. The UAE will hold no public political meeting with the US and Israel until “Israel’s position on the aircraft deal is clarified.”