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Pentagon Vows to Help Israel Keep Military Superiority

EPA / UPG

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper pledged Tuesday to help maintain Israel's military superiority in the Middle East, amid its concerns over a possible US sale of F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates, France24 reports.

"A cornerstone of our defense relationship is preserving Israel's qualitative military edge in the region," Esper said as he welcomed Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to the Pentagon.

"The United States is committed to that, and the Department of Defense is committed to that imperative. We will continue to support the longstanding US policy to maintain Israel's security," said Esper.

The question of whether the United States will sell the advanced fighters to the UAE cast a cloud over the White House ceremony last week for the diplomatic normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain.

President Donald Trump said at the time that he would have "no problem" selling F-35 warplanes to the United Arab Emirates, despite objections from the Jewish state.

Israel has long opposed the sale of F-35s to any US allies in the region including Jordan and Egypt, both of whom already recognize Israel.

Such a sale would erode Israel's military advantage over its neighbors.


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