Gantz to Kushner: Let’s work together to keep Israel’s military edge

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who was also in the meeting, said "a special window of opportunity has opened for far-reaching changes in the Middle East."

BENNY GANTZ had a good meeting with Jared Kushner this week, but how did his coalition talks go?  (photo credit: JERIES MANSOUR/U.S. EMBASSY JERUSALEM)
BENNY GANTZ had a good meeting with Jared Kushner this week, but how did his coalition talks go?
(photo credit: JERIES MANSOUR/U.S. EMBASSY JERUSALEM)
Israel should with the US to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told White House Special Advisor Jared Kushner on Sunday, as the US considers Abu Dhabi’s request to buy F-35 stealth jets and other weapons systems following the UAE’s normalization with Israel.
US President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Kushner, and others in the administration made comments about weighing the arms deal in recent weeks, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposing it in order to maintain Israel’s military advantage. The UAE sought to buy F-35s long before the Abraham Accords with Israel were announced.
Gantz, a former military attaché to Washington and familiar with such situations, emphasized that he is prepared to work with the Americans “to find the right avenues to ensure that Israel’s defensive superiority, which is vital to regional stability, is preserved.”
The defense minister and alternate prime minister thanked Kushner and the other members of the delegation, US National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, and Representative for Iran Brian Hook, “for their constructive efforts to establish peace in our region and for the American commitment to Israeli security.”
Gantz said normalization with the UAE is a harbinger for greater stability in the Middle East and expressed confidence that more countries will follow.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who was also in the meeting, said "a special window of opportunity has opened for far-reaching changes in the Middle East."
Ashkenazi also spoke about Iran with the American delegations, emphasizing the importance of convincing Europe to take a harder line, as he said in a conference of EU foreign ministers last week.
Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu pointed to the UAE canceling its boycott of Israeli goods over the weekend, and said that it will pave the way for more countries in the region to normalize ties with Israel. He said that in addition to the meetings that were made public in recent years – such as with the leaders of Oman, Sudan and Chad – there are many more secret meetings with leaders in the region who seek to strengthen their ties with Israel.
“The day will come – it won’t be far away – when we will ask how could it have been any other way. Today’s breakthroughs will become tomorrow’s norms,” he said.
Netanyahu said he is willing to negotiate peace with the Palestinians based on US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which he emphasized does not require any Israelis or Palestinians to evacuate their homes.
“As more Arab and Muslim countries join the circle of peace [the Palestinians] will be hard pressed to remain outside,” he predicted.
“We are ready to till fields of peace and bring its bountiful fruits to our people,” he said.
Kushner, O’Brien, US Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz and US Iran envoy Brian Hook, together with an Israeli delegation led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, are set to take the first-ever direct flight from Israel to the UAE on Monday, on an El Al plane bearing the word “peace” in Arabic, Hebrew and English in honor of the historic moment.