Saturday 16 January 2021 
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Trump Approves F-22 Sale to Israel

US Defense Secretary informed Israeli officials that President Donald Trump has approved the sale of F-22 fighter jets, according to senior sources in Tel Aviv.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Israel Thursday for a short visit and held a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benny Gantz, followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

Esper informed the officials that President Donald Trump has approved the sale of F-22 fighter jets and precision-guided bombs, according to senior sources in Tel Aviv.

 

Esper arrived in Tel Aviv following his visit to India where he signed an agreement expanding military satellite information sharing and highlighted strategic cooperation between Washington and New Delhi with an eye toward countering China, The Associated Press reported.

 

According to security sources in Tel Aviv, the US-Indian agreement strengthens the regional alliance against the threat of the so-called Islamic radicals.

 

But, Esper's visit to Tel Aviv was primarily to inform Israeli officials of the US response to their demands, which Gantz raised during his two previous visits to Washington.

 

The sources believed that Esper's arrival to Tel Aviv aimed at two things: Ensuring US voters that the Trump administration guarantees the security of Israel, and containing the implications of advanced US arms deals, such as the F-35, to the UAE and other possible Arab countries.

 

Gantz presented a long list of demands including an increase in military support and another squadron of F-35 fighters, advanced model of F-15 jets, V-22 helicopter, and refueling aircraft.

 

Israel also requested the smart bomb, which weighs 14 tons, and F-22 jets, which is the only model that can carry that bomb. Notably, the US pledged to refrain from selling this bomb and jet to any country in the world.




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