Kushner and O'Brien on board the El Al flight from Israel to the UAE. Photo: Nir Elias/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plan to discuss the pending sale of F-35 fighter jets by the U.S. to the UAE, Jared Kushner told reporters on board the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE, which landed in Abu Dhabi this morning.

Why it matters: The White House has hailed the normalization deal it brokered between Israel and the UAE as a breakthrough for the region — but shortly after the announcement, a major disagreement emerged over the UAE's desire to acquire the F-35.

Behind the scenes: Emirati officials considered Netanyahu's public opposition to the deal a violation of the understandings they had reached, and they canceled a ceremonial meeting at the UN to show their displeasure.

The backstory: The U.S. has committed to ensuring the regional military superiority of Israel, which is the only country in the region to possess the F-35.

  • Kushner and national security adviser Robert O'Brien discussed the issue with Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem on Sunday.
  • On Monday's flight, Kushner said Netanyahu has full confidence that Trump will do everything he can to ensure Israel can maintain its qualitative military edge.
  • Kushner added that the U.S. has a 30-year security relationship with the UAE, which it intends to enhance while bringing Israel into their security dialogue. "I know Netanyahu sees the great opportunity that was created here," he said.

The latest: In a press conference after landing in Abu Dhabi, Kushner said he was confident the U.S. could both deepen its security relationship with the UAE and preserve Israel's qualitative military edge.

What to watch: Gantz said publicly after Sunday's meeting that he thinks the U.S. and Israel can find a way to maintain Israel's military superiority even if the deal moves forward.

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Sep 16, 2020 - World

UAE-Israel treaty states commitment to meeting the needs of Israelis and Palestinians

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L), UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) attend a signing ceremony for the agreements on "normalization of relations" reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain at the White House in Washington, United States on September 15, 2020. Photo:
Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates states that both countries are committed to "working together for a negotiated solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will meet the aspirations and needs of both parties."

Why it matters: The Emiratis face criticism from the Palestinians over their peace treaty with Israel. Officials involved in the negotiations on the text of the treaty told me the Emiratis wanted to include language on Palestinians in the document. The Emiratis wanted stronger language, but Israel did not agree.

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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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