White House to move ahead with sale of F-35 jets to the UAE

The United States and the UAE aim to have a letter of agreement for the F-35 jets in time for UAE National Day celebrated on December 2.

ISRAEL HAS to examine carefully how much the US wants to sell the F35 to the UAE.  (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
ISRAEL HAS to examine carefully how much the US wants to sell the F35 to the UAE.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
The White House notified Congress it intends to sell 50 5-35 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin to the United Arab Emirates, setting up a potential showdown with the US legislature, which could vote to block the sales, sources said on Thursday.
The United States and the UAE aim to have a letter of agreement for the F-35 jets in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec. 2, Reuters reported in September.
The US Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees, whose members have criticized the UAE's role in civilian deaths in Yemen, have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process.
Israel initially balked at the prospective sale but last year dropped its opposition after what it described as US guarantees that Israeli military superiority would be preserved.
"We all face a common threat," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an apparent allusion to Iran, told reporters on Thursday when asked about the Reuters report.
"But with that said, it was important that the (Israeli) defense establishment received this clear American undertaking to preserve our qualitative military edge," added Netanyahu, who earlier on Thursday hosted visiting Pentagon chief Mark Esper.
"As defense minister for the State of Israel, I am telling you this evening that the United States continues to be committed to Israel's security and its qualitative and technological advantage in the Middle East," said Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Gantz also met with Esper and senior members of the US security administration on Thursday and said that in his meeting with the US Defense Secretary he and Esper "took care to ensure Israel's security for decades  and the strengthening of it."
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.