Netanyahu makes deals at the expense of the country

The F-35 fiasco is similar to how he gave Germany the green light to sell Dolphin-class submarines to Egypt.

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)
Two important statements were issued on Friday. The first was put out jointly by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in which the two said they would not object to the American sale of advanced fifth-generation stealth F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.
The second statement came from Gantz alone in which he claimed Netanyahu knew about the sale of the F-35s to Abu Dhabi during the peace negotiations that were mediated by the Trump administration but the prime minister had kept the news a secret, even from the defense establishment.
“The defense minister considers achieving peace and regional stability a strategic value and therefore led an independent action” with the Trump administration to ensure both the normalization deal with the UAE and Israel’s security, the statement said.
Both statements are interesting. The first was likely issued as a result of pressure from the UAE and the US, which wanted to ensure Israel would not be an obstacle in the congressional process required to approve foreign arms deals.
What made this more interesting though was that it was a sharp break from previous comments made by Netanyahu. When the news of US President Donald Trump’s intention to sell F-35s to the UAE became known, Netanyahu denied that he knew about it, and called the reports “fake news.”
In August, for example, his office put out the following statement: “To begin with, the prime minister opposed selling the F-35 and advanced weaponry to any countries in the Middle East, including Arab states that make peace with Israel. The prime minister expressed this consistent stance time after time before the US government, and it hasn’t changed.”
While the earlier reports were clearly not “fake news,” what is more disturbing is the statement by Gantz claiming that Netanyahu hid the F-35 section of the deal from the IDF.
This is just the latest example of how Netanyahu makes side deals at the expense of the country’s security without transparency or accountability. This is similar to the green light he gave Germany to sell advanced Dolphin-class submarines to the Egyptian military, at a time that no one in the IDF knew or approved of such a sale.
What happened now with the UAE is not that different. Netanyahu wanted to advance a diplomatic peace deal, and for that to happen he had to condone a massive arms sale. Instead of simply telling the truth and dealing with the consequences – it’s likely the defense establishment would have agreed – he decided to hide it and pretend this was a “peace for peace” deal, unlike previous deals with Jordan and Egypt, which required concessions from Israeli leaders.
In other words, to make himself seem better and stronger, he hid the truth. He kept state secrets from the people whose responsibility it is to safeguard the nation and instead issued statements full of falsehoods.
This is just another reason why a proper investigation is needed to uncover what really happened with the deal to purchase new submarines and surface vessels from Germany alongside the permission Netanyahu gave to sell submarines to Egypt. Last week, an effort to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry was scuttled after the coalition succeeded in annulling a previous vote in which establishment of the commission had passed.
The people need to understand what is happening at the highest echelons of power with regard to their safety and security. Is Netanyahu making the right decisions, and where is the system of checks and balances meant to oversee these decisions and hold the people who make them accountable? Right now, it seems like there are not any.
These two cases – submarines to Egypt and F-35s to the UAE – raise a serious cloud over Netanyahu’s decision-making as well as the claims he made after they both were uncovered. He says the opposite of the truth, only to have to reverse at a later date.
Netanyahu’s calculation is the public doesn’t care. But people should care. These decisions impact the security of this nation. If they are hidden from the defense establishment, something is wrong. A parliamentary commission of inquiry is needed now more than before.