Opinion: Losing a bit of technological superiority in the region and forfeiting plans of West Bank annexation are all reasonable enough prices to pay for peace, but PM continues to deny that recent normalization accords have side effects
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a press conference in Tel Aviv Saturday
Let me start by getting the obvious out of the way. Israel’s recent normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and now Sudan are impressive diplomatic achievements for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
These treaties shatter the decades-long Arab hostility towards Israel and could serve as the basis for a regional partnership against Iran and its terror proxies.
The agreements with two Gulf states and an Arab country in Africa, with whom we were never really at war, seem to be receiving widespread approval from the Israeli public. Netanyahu is right when he says that Israel is no longer isolated.
But, even on the way to these historic agreements, Netanyahu manages to ruffle up some feathers and create controversy with some astounding revelations that he would have probably liked to be kept secret.
Yedioth Aharonot’s journalist Nahum Barnea reported several months ago that Netanyahu has given his agreement to U.S. the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. These claims were dismissed and labeled by Netanyahu and his sycophants as “fake news”.
On Friday, he admitted in a joint statement with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, that the U.S. is planning to sell the advanced aircrafts to Abu Dhabi and Israel will not object.
Netanyahu in his defense claimed the arms deal between the U.S. and UAE was made after the normalization agreement had been signed. Well, if it’s true, it seems that Yedioth Aharonot’s reporters have better sources than the prime minister.
Gantz, however, implied that Netanyahu lied to the Defense Ministry and the negotiations over the normalization deal, which included the sale of the jets, had been conducted behind the backs of Israel’s defense establishment.
“The discussions were kept secret from the Defense Ministry, which did not take part in them,” he said in a statement.
Opposition MK and former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the same thing happened during the purchase of submarines from Germany, with Netanyahu completely ignoring the Defense Ministry’s opinion on the matter.
Netanyahu marketed the deal with the UAE as “peace in exchange for peace.” Sure, Israel did not have to make any territorial concessions, but it paid a price, both politically and security-wise.
First of all, Netanyahu forfeited his years-long vision of applying Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, giving up on a not only political asset, but also on one of his strongest campaign promises.
Secondly, the country forfeited its strategic superiority in the region and allowed an Arab nation to be on the same technological footing as Israel.
Let’s be honest here, both of these are reasonable enough prices to pay for peace. So, why does Netanyahu keep denying the facts?