Photo Credit: Ofer Zidon / Flash 90
An Israeli F-16 from the exercise hosting squadron the Red Squadron takes off from the Ovda airbase in the Southern District of Israel on November 25, 2013. Israel, US, Greek, and Italian air forces participated in the Israeli Air Force combat exercise at Ovda.

Israel has announced that its half a billion dollar deal to sell 12 used F-16 Barak fighter jets to Croatia is off.

“Unforseen problems” have ended the deal, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry, which made the announcement Thursday night.

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“The Ministry of Defense attaches great importance to the deepening of cooperation between Israel and Croatia, and initiated the project of the F-16, which includes Israeli know-how and technology, and which was conducted professionally in the framework of the GTG deal between the two countries,” said director-general of the Defense Ministry, Udi Adam, while on a visit to Zagreb.

“Croatia has acted professionally and judiciously all along the way. Unfortunately we have not been able to realize the deal because of problems that could not have been expected and are not under the control of the countries,” he added.

The aircraft, which were originally purchased from the United States, were upgraded with Israeli technology. But the U.S. refused to allow Israel to sell them to Croatia – a NATO member like the United States – unless they were first returned to their original status.

The problem is that Croatia wanted to buy the jets because of the upgraded radar and electronics that had been added to the aircraft.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a last-ditch attempt to change the picture during his meeting in Brazil with U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo, but reportedly discussions were fruitless.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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