An Israeli security source confirmed on Thursday evening that as part of the recent peace agreements signed with the United States’ encouragement between Israel and Arab countries in the Middle East, the US plans to pursue arms deals with every country that resolves its differences with Israel, several Israeli media outlets reported.
The source suggested that in many respects it is preferable that the country that sells new weapons in the Gulf region be the United States and not some other country, such as Russia or China (or France for that matter – DI).
According to the source, the arms deals will come after the signing of additional peace agreements between the State of Israel and other Arab countries.
“Israel’s advantage in the Middle East will be maintained in the face of further agreements on the way,” said the source, noting that “these are countries with a lot of money and an interest in upgrading their armies.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz ended his visit to Washington on Thursday evening during which he met with US Secretary of Defense Mark Asper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
שר הביטחון בני גנץ יוצא הלילה לארה”ב לפגישה עם שר ההגנה האמריקני מארק אספר. לפני המראתו אמר: “לצד המאבק בקורונה, אויבינו לא נחים לרגע. ראינו מה קרה אתמול עם המנהרה בדרום ואנחנו מכירים את האתגרים בכל הזירות. נמשיך ונדאג למדינת ישראל, הן בקורונה והן בביטחון”@moyshis pic.twitter.com/zHsfwOzXQY
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) October 21, 2020
At their meeting, the three officials discussed compensation for Israel following the expected F-35 sale by the United States to the United Arab Emirates. According to the same security source, the issues raised were the purchase of fighter jets, helicopters, air defense and special armaments that would preserve the IDF’s advantage in the region.
The two parties agreed that additional US arms deals with Arab countries would lead to additional compensation packages for Israel.
The security source added that the contacts for normalization between Israel and those additional Arab countries were discussed in the meeting.
“Some day Saudi Arabia will start coming out of the closet,” the source said. “There’s a trend in the making regarding normalization, they are not going anywhere and neither are we. This trend will continue and it’s good that it will.”
Defense Minister Gantz’s discussions with the US administration also included the continuation of intelligence and operational cooperation between the two countries.
This is Gantz’s second visit to the United States in one month, and according to the security source, there will be more such meetings in the near future.
According to non-Israeli sources cited by Kan 11 News, Secretary of Defense Asper is expected to visit Israel at the end of October to continue the strategic discussions, presumably with the IDF brass and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.