Despite the recently established diplomatic relation between two Middle Eastern countries, Israel opposes any potential Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters sales by the United States to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as it could diminish its military superiority.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced in a press release, Israel opposes U.S. plans for a giant F-35 fighters sales deal with UAE as part of the Gulf country's relations normalisation with Israel, underlining that the peace agreement between countries does not include any arms sales and “the U.S. has made it clear that it will always take strict care to maintain Israel‘s qualitative edge“.

The Prime Minister has opposed the sale of F-35s and any defence technologies that could tip the military balance to any country in the Middle East, including Arab countries that already have peace agreements with Israel, as announced in a statement.

Yuval Steinitz, Energy Minister of Israeli, an observer in Netanyahu's security cabinet, noticed that previous U.S. administrations had sold to the UAE more advanced F-16 fighter jets as well as F-15 warplanes than Israel possesses, Reuters reports.

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An Israeli Air Force F-15 “Baz” fighter aircraft was forced to an emergency landing after losing its canopy at an altitude of 30,000 feet (9 kilometers) during a training flight, on January 2, 2019.
 

“I would like to offer us reassurance. Any F-35 that ends up, ultimately, in the United Arab Emirates - not that we would be happy with this, as we always want to be the only ones with such arms in the region - threatens Iran far more than it does us,” he said to Reuters, citing a foe common to Israel and many Gulf countries.

Israel is convinced that the eventual F-35 deal between the United States and UAE could run contrary to long-standing opposition to selling advanced weapons to Arab countries, claiming that the F-35 warplane sale “could end Israel military superiority in the region”, Prime Minister Office declares.

Israel is a major operator of US defence equipment and is the only Middle East operator of the F-35. 

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The United Arab Emirates has signed a $462 million contract with Dassault Aviation for the modernization of its Mirage 2000-9 fleet. In addition, the missile manufacturer MBDA was awarded a $350 million contract for ammunitions maintenance.