Former secretary of state confirms that selling the advanced fighters to Israel’s new Mediterranean ally was “critical” for sealing the Abraham Accords.
By World Israel News Staff
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sale of the advanced F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was a “critical” part of getting the Arab country to agree to sign a peace treaty with Israel, Yediot Aharonot reported Thursday.
Israel had initially objected to the multi-billion dollar sale because it wanted exclusive use of the stealth bomber in the Middle East, but in an interview to be published in the newspaper’s weekend edition, Pompeo admitted for the first time that the agreement to sell the jets proved to the Emirati leaders “that we have confidence in them” and was crucial during negotiations.
As Trump’s secretary of state, Pompeo was there behind the scenes in the secret talks ahead of signing the Abraham Accords, which led to the historic peace agreement between Israel and both the UAE and Bahrain.
At the time, the agreement included a huge deal for the sale of the radar-evading F-35 fighter jets, despite the objections of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli defense establishment.
Pompeo is the first senior official from the Trump administration to openly confirm the importance of the deal as a condition of the entire agreement. He said a series of steps that preceded the agreement, including the American assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, were necessary to build the foundation for the peace accords.
“There is no doubt that [UAE leader] Mohammed bin Zayed, who made a remarkably bold decision, knew that he had the required defensive space,” Pompeo said. “But those leaders also needed guarantees in other ways so that they would know that we value them as partners in the path and protection of peace.”
“The agreement to sell the F-35 was critical in that sense, because it proved that we have confidence in them as partners in security. Beyond the technology of the aircraft, beyond the capabilities it confers on the Emirates, the sale itself says that Israelis and Americans believe that the Emirates can share their concept of security. And that is very, very important,” Pompeo said.
“We, in the previous administration, would have done it differently. We would have immediately clarified our unconditional support for Israel,” Pompeo said, noting that Biden “certainly came up with the right words,” but at the same time he also “released money to the Palestinians.”
“Just as he was giving this speech, American representatives were sitting in Vienna and talking – albeit indirectly – with the Iranians about how many billions of dollars they were going to give to exactly those bastards who fund Hamas,” Pompeo said.