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January 29, 2021 11:25 am

Israel Plays Down Possible Biden Administration Review of Arms for UAE

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issue statements, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, July 27, 2020. Photo: Tal Shahar / Pool via Reuters.

Israeli leaders played down on Thursday a possible Biden administration review of US arms sales to the United Arab Emirates that girded the Gulf power’s rapprochement with Israel.

Washington said on Wednesday it had temporarily paused some pending arms sales to US allies. The Trump administration, having brokered formal Israel-UAE ties in September, approved a first sale of F-35 warplanes and other weaponry for Abu Dhabi.

Reviews of this sort are typical after a US presidential handover. The UAE said it had anticipated the move and would work closely with the Biden administration.

Israel is the only country in the region to have the F-35. After initially voicing misgivings at its sale to the UAE, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz relented amid Trump administration assurances that Israeli military superiority would be preserved.

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Asked by reporters if the review might set back Israel’s efforts to build up relations with the UAE and other Arab countries, Netanyahu said: “I don’t think so. I think we have passed the point of no-return.”

“Everyone understands that there are huge advantages here. It’s peace in exchange for peace … I think it’ll move ahead.”

Gantz described the review as “routine.”

Interviewed by Ynet TV, Gantz said he would speak to his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, on Thursday but did not elaborate.

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