Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN Sunday that the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the UAE increases the probability that the Trump administration would agree to sell F-35 jets to the UAE.

Why it matters: Israel is the only country in the Middle East to possess the F-35, the United States' most advanced fighter aircraft. Reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed off on potential sales to the UAE — which he denies — ignited a political controversy in Israel.

What he's saying: The issue is currently under review by the State Department and the Pentagon, Kushner said.

  • He stressed that the Trump administration is committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, but added that the UAE is a good military partner for the U.S. and that there's a chance the F-35 deal will take place after Israel-UAE normalization.

The big picture: Kushner echoed similar statements by Emirati officials on the issue. The UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said last Thursday that his country's normalization deal with Israel should "make it easier" to buy F-35 fighter jets from the U.S.

  • "We have legitimate requests that are there and we ought to get them," Gargash said in a virtual briefing to the Atlantic Council.
  • "Now the whole idea of a state of war with Israel will no longer exist, and so it will make it easier for the U.S. to sell us the planes."
  • Gargash said he doesn't understand why Israel is so concerned about the potential sale. “I don’t know how much of it is domestic Israeli politics," he said.

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2020 - World

Kushner expects more countries to normalize with Israel before Palestinian deal

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN on Tuesday that he expects more Arab countries to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel before Palestinian leadership agrees to a peace deal.

Why it matters: After hosting a White House signing ceremony on Tuesday that formalized diplomatic ties between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, President Trump told reporters that he expects seven to nine more countries — including possibly Saudi Arabia — to agree to a similar move.

Sep 16, 2020 - Podcasts

A historic peace agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate new peace accords with the UAE and Bahrain — the first Arab states in a quarter-century to normalize relations with Israel. The move could have major impacts on the future of the region, including possible compromises on relations with the Palestinians and annexation of the West Bank.

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Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.

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