President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner confirmed that the US is seriously considering selling advanced stealth fighter aircraft to the United Arab Emirates as a result of the upcoming peace treaty between the UAE and Israel.
Speaking with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday Kushner said the new deal made it more likely that the US would sell the UAE the F-35 jet fighter, the most advanced fighter produced by the United States.
Earlier reports by CNN had claimed that Kushner was behind a “secret” push to approve the sale of F-35s to the UAE, despite Israel’s opposition to the sales, which it fears could weaken its technological advantage in the region, and lead to a new precedent of advanced arms sales to Arab states.
Kushner also responded to claims that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had used his plan to apply sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria as a bargaining chip to secure peace with the UAE.
“This seems like a great deal for Bibi Netanyahu. He has gotten this extraordinary concession, the normalization of relations with the UAE, and has had to give up nothing. He floated an annexation plan which never happened and then withdrew it, which seems like a brilliant bargaining strategy. So in a sense, didn’t he outsmart you? And if he gets rewards for not doing anything, why would he make peace with the Palestinians? What is the incentive to make peace with the Palestinians?”
“This peace deal, which is the third peace deal in 70 years for Israel and the first peace deal in the Middle East in 26 years in a big win for the world, not just Israel. It’s a win for the United Arab Emirates, it’s a win for America,” said Kushner.
“It’s a big win for all of the countries who want to see their societies advance.”
“It’s about people wanting to push back on the people who are looking to radicalize the region and use these old conflicts to sow disconnection.”
“We got Israel to make historic concessions that they hadn’t been willing to agree to in a long time.”
“It really showed Israel agreeing to a Palestinian state. And it was the first time in history that Israel agreed to a map that was based on the facts on the ground.”
“Once we put that out, that showed a lot of people in the Arab world that Israel was indeed serious about making peace with the Palestinians, and a lot of the relations we’ve been stimulating in the last years were able to come to the forefront.”
“This peace deal is a great vindication for all of the unorthodox steps that President Trump has taken over the last three and a half years.”
When asked whether reports claiming he is behind efforts to clear the sale of F-35 stealth fighters to the UAE are true, Kushner sidestepped the question, while hinting that the US is seriously considering the sale.
“This has become an issue that I guess came up as a political issue in Israel over the last week or so. The UAE has been trying to get the F-35 for a long time, and the group that doesn’t want them to get it the most is obviously Iran, because they’re just across the Strait of Hormuz from there.”
“The reality is that this new peace agreement should increase the probability of them getting it. But we’re looking at the QME” – referring to the US obligation to maintain Israel’s Quantitative Military Edge over other Middle Eastern powers.
“This is something we could potentially see happening now as a result of this great breakthrough.”