Netanyahu dismissed the report as ‘fake news’ on Twitter. He is said to be furious at Gantz and Ashkenazi for questioning his version of events.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
A report by Yediot Ahronot on Tuesday revealed that the UAE-Israel peace deal includes a clause granting the United Arab Emirates permission to obtain advanced military technology, including F-35 fighter jets, from the U.S.
The military technology purchase agreement, said to be worth billions of dollars, was allegedly the deciding factor that convinced the UAE to accept the deal, reported Yediot Ahronot.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has enjoyed praise from world leaders and a surge in popularity among Israelis since the deal, has since repeatedly denied that military technology for the UAE was a condition of the deal.
However, a senior UAE official told Yediot Ahronot that Netanyahu explicitly approved the agreement. The White House declined to comment on the report.
The allegation pours cold water on a much-needed victory for Netanyahu, who has been battered by near-daily protests against him and sliding public support over the few last months.
Netanyahu dismissed the report via Twitter, calling it “fake news,” but alternate prime minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi seemed to take the revelations seriously.
The two men were kept out of the loop during the negotiations, finding out about the deal at the same time as the public.
In a press conference they held on Tuesday evening, Gantz and Ashkenazi appeared to cast doubt on Netanyahu’s version of events.
They expressed concern about the UAE obtaining F-35 fighter jets and other advanced military technology from the U.S.
“The future and resiliency of Israel depend on two efforts,” said Gantz. “Striving for peace and insisting, without any compromise, upon maintaining our military superiority in every place in the Middle East.”
Ashkenazi said, “We are not familiar with any defense-related promises as part of the deal with the UAE, and if there are [any,] they weren’t made with the consultation or knowledge of myself or the Foreign Ministry.’
“The IDF’s military edge is one of the most important aspects of our security,” he emphasized.
Likud Chairman Miki Zohar responded to the Gantz-Ashkenazi press conference on Wednesday morning, telling Channel 12 News, “Netanyahu is furious” and “Gantz will not be prime minister.”
Under the coalition agreement between Netanyahu’s Likud party and Gantz’s Blue and White party, Gantz is slated to take over as prime minister in November 2021.
The coalition has endured a number of crises since its inception in March, appearing to be on the verge of collapse.
If the coalition fails, Israel would go to its fourth round of elections in a two-year period.
Zohar seemed to suggest this was a possibility, saying that Netanyahu could “easily dismantle the government.”