“For reasons we don’t fully understand, the Americans hardened their conditions and, apparently, we misread their position on the deal,” the Israeli official told Axios. “Practically, the F-16 deal with Croatia is dead, and we don’t think it is possible to get an agreement that will reconcile the US conditions and the Croatian demands in the tender.”
The official added that Israel will have “to apologize to Croatia for the deal falling apart and move on.”
The report added that Netanyahu contemplated contacting Marilyn Hewson, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-16s, to request assistance in getting the agreement approved but decided there was no point, according to the official.
Netanyahu’s office, the Pentagon and State Department didn’t comment to Axios. Additionally, it was reported that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was supportive of the Israel-Croatia deal, but told Netanyahu earlier this month that Mattis blocked it.
The request from Netanyahu to Mattis was made a couple weeks prior to the his resignation. Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan becomes acting secretary in January.