United States Will Not Sell F-35 Warplanes to Arab Countries: Report

United States Will Not Sell F-35 Warplanes to Arab Countries: Report
Wed May 4, 2016 18:55:59

According to the Hebrew-language daily Maariv, Washington had confirmed to Tel Aviv that this type of aircraft “will be exclusively allocated for Israel in the Middle East.”

The newspaper further said Israeli authorities are wary of the fact the sale of F-35 military aircraft to Arab countries would chip away at the “technological superiority of Israel in the region.”

There are reports that Washington is mulling the sale of fourth-generation F-35 aircraft to Qatar and Kuwait. US military officials have already announced that they will maintain a quality gap in favor of Israel in such a case.

The Hebrew-language newspaper Yisrael Hume reported recently that the Israeli Air Force is due to receive the first the first batch of F-35 fighter jets at the end of the current year.

It will receive a further seven warplanes next year. An airbase is going to be constructed in Israel’s southern desert region of Negev for the new aircraft.

United States Military Aid to Israel Stalled: Report

Officials, meanwhile, say negotiations meant to enshrine US military aid for Israel over the next decade have snagged on disputes about the size, scope and fine print of a new multibillion-dollar package.

Israel is trying to garner $10 billion more than the current 10-year package, and billions more than the US administration is currently offering through guaranteed funding for missile projects.

US President Barack Obama, however, wants the funds to be spent entirely on US-made weapons, and not spent even partly on Israeli arms, several US and Israeli officials told Reuters.

Under the current agreement signed in 2007 and due to expire in 2018, Israel has received a total sum of about $30 billion or an average of $3 billion per annum from the US.

The current deal allows Israel to spend 26.3 percent of US funds on its own military industries. Washington is seeking to phase out this provision, and ensure that all of the money is spent on US-built munitions.

Tel Aviv says such a measure would give a devastating blow to its arms firms, which make some $800 million a year.

The United States also wants to put an end to a provision which allows Israel to spend around $400 million in annual funds on military fuels.

Israel has long been a major recipient of US aid, most in the form of military assistance.

Tel Aviv also wants the US administration to support missile defense projects that have so far relied on ad hoc assistance by the U.S. Congress.

The Obama administration has reportedly balked at Israel's request to stipulate a separate funding track in the military deal for missile projects.

In recent years, US legislators have given up to $600 million to Israel in the form of annual discretionary funds for missile systems. The figure is four-fold the $150 million requested by the Obama administration, Press TV reported.

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