Israeli minister says his country’s objections may not be enough to prevent Doha from purchasing the stealth fighter jets.
A US sale of advanced F-35 fighter jets to Qatar might be possible despite Israel’s previous statement of rejecting the deal, an Israeli cabinet minister said on Sunday.
“I have no doubt that if they (Qatar) want it and are willing to pay, sooner or later they will get it,” said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who sits in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told Ynet TV.
Steinitz added that the US administration “ultimately looks out for American interests” and that if the sale proceeds, Israel would demand “appropriate compensation” in reference to US defense.
The Israeli official’s statement came after Reuters reported on October 7 that Qatar had submitted a formal request to buy the F-35, a Lockheed Martin plane that has only been supplied to Israel within the region.
Following the report of the potential warplanes deal, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said that Israel will oppose any US attempts to sell them to Qatar.
When asked about Qatar’s interest in buying the warplane and what that would mean for Israel’s military dominance in the region, Cohen said: “The answer is yes. Our security and military superiority in the region are the most significant things for us. Our region has still not turned into Switzerland.”
Doha’s request followed an August deal between the US and the UAE in which Washington reportedly agreed to consider selling Abu Dhabi F-35s in return for the Emirates normalising relations with the Zionist state. The UAE would be the first Gulf state to possess the stealth jet if the deal eventually goes through.
However, although requests to obtain the American jets from Lockheed Martin Co, a leading aerospace and weapons manufacturer must be approved by the US government, Israel has a big say.
This is mainly due to decades-old US-Israeli policies, restricting arms and weaponry deals in the Middle East to maintain Tel-Aviv’s military advantage and superiority in the region, ultimately ensuring that it can continue illegally occupying land without any threat.