Israeli Ambassador to U.S.: Israel is comfortable with U.S.–UAE F-35 deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said Israel would not oppose the delivery of advanced F-35 jet fighters to the United Arab Emirates and criticized the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden for its intention to return to the nuclear deal with Iran.

In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Dermer stated that Israel is comfortable with the U.S.–UAE deal, saying that it does not violate the U.S. commitment to ensuring Israeli military superiority in region, remarking that the UAE stands with Israel against Iran.

Earlier this month, 29 arms control and human rights organizations, including Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, objected to the recent arms deal between the U.S. and United Arab Emirates (UAE) estimated at $23 billion and demanded that Congress prevent the sale.

The Trump administration formally notified Congress of the deal, which includes the sale of drones, missiles, and 50 advanced F-35 jet fighters.

Three US senators proposed legislation to halt the sale. U.S. law allows for Senators to force votes on major transfers of arms.

The primary concern of the Senators who introduced the legislation — Bob Menendez (D), Chris Murphy (R), and Paul (R) — is that such a large sale of advanced weaponry could alter the balance of power in the Middle East and be used to harm civilians in the ongoing Yemeni civil war, considered one of the worst ongoing humanitarian disasters in the world.

Ambassador Dermer also spoke with MSNBC about the plan of President-elect Joe Biden to return to the nuclear deal signed with Iran during the administration of former President Barack Obama. Dermer stated that he found the idea of returning to the nuclear deal as disturbing. UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba was present during the interview and echoes Ambassador Dermer’s comments.

Dermer’s remarks come in response to those of President-elect Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, who said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the new U.S. administration intends to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, and that it would form the basis for further negotiations with Tehran on broader issues.