Normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates received its first setback on Friday, when the UAE canceled a trilateral meeting that was supposed to take place under American auspices, Barak Ravid reported in the news portal Axios.
The reason behind the UAE’s decision to cancel the meeting are recent comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel refuses to sign off sales of American F-35 fighter jets to the small Arab nation.
The recent tensions came only days following a normalization deal between Israel and the UAE, which has been perceived by Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims as an act of betrayal.
“The F-35 deal has been under discussion for some time, and Trump administration officials have said the normalization deal makes it more likely to proceed, while acknowledging their obligation to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region,” AXIOS reported on Monday.
But as soon as Israeli media reported that the F-35 fighter jets sale was the main benefit that the UAE will reap from the normalization deal, as soon as Netanyahu vehemently rejected the reports.
Netanyahu’s denial seems to have come as a surprise to the Emiratis.
“The Emiratis were under the impression going into the normalization deal that while Netanyahu may have reservations on the F-35 issue, he would not air them publicly, the three sources briefed on the matter say,” AXIOS reported.
The canceled Friday meeting was organized by the US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft. It was a largely “ceremonial affair,” Ravid wrote.
“All sides confirmed their attendance and were planning the details when the Emiratis suddenly told Craft and the White House they wanted to cancel it indefinitely.”
It is unclear how the US will manage this obstacle or how it was possible that the UAE has engaged in a massive political gamble without any guarantees that the Americans will finally confirm the F-35 sale.
“The Emiratis plan to hold off on further high-level public meetings with Israel until Netanyahu’s position is cleared up,” AXIOS reported.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle