F-35: Elkin: We did not agree to sell the planes, but the Americans are sovereign

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Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) referred this morning (Sunday) in an interview with Golan Yokfaz and Anat Davidov on 103FM to the deal to sell the F-35 aircraft from the United States to the United Arab Emirates, as well as Defense Minister Bnei Gantz’s claims for exclusion from the negotiations.

Netanyahu refers to the agreement with Sudan. Photo: GPO

Netanyahu lied.
“No, I think he explained things in a clear form, not different from what was presented at the time in the Cabinet.”

Do you believe that at the time of the final talks on concluding the peace agreement, the Israeli side did not know that the deal was going to be approved?
“The Israeli side did not agree, did not know it is another question. As you know the Americans are still sovereign to agree even without our consent. Recently the Americans made a similar deal with Turkey, where there is no conspiracy theory that we agreed to sell to Turkey.”

What happened during those three weeks?
“I assume we understood that the sale would take place in any case, and our Ministry of Defense has a dialogue with the Americans to ensure Israel’s superiority.”

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Could not understand it before?
“I think if there was no American decision before, you could not have understood first. The Americans are not working for us, they are our helpers and allies.”

It can be said to the Israeli public that they are going to sign a peace agreement when there is a chance that F-35s will be sold and do so transparently, which did not happen.
“As a cabinet member I can say that there are such contacts, we oppose, but what will the Americans do? We do not know. The prime minister said this publicly from the first moment the issue came up, he insisted there was no Israeli agreement as a precondition for the agreement.”

The prime minister denied it completely.
“There is talk of Israeli agreement as a condition of the agreement, which we agreed in advance to secure the agreement and which the Prime Minister denied.”

It is not clear?
“The Americans are not working for us. So I guess we do not know how to say in their place what they will do. The UAE’s request has been on the table for some time.”

Within three months, Israel, which is concerned with maintaining supremacy and banning the sale of weapons to enemy countries, changed its position.
“I assume that Israel did not change its position, but once the American decision was made, it preferred to receive exchanges to ensure our superiority. Turkey also sold the planes despite our opposition. The Americans see a different force in the Middle East and it does not always go eye to eye.”

And what about the exclusion of the defense minister?
“Once the whole subject of the agreement was publicized they knew, as you heard the Prime Minister yesterday.”

I’m talking about the sale, such a significant strategic event in the Middle East, how are the chief of staff and the defense minister not involved?
“The defense minister knew.”

He says no.
“He says that until the agreement was revealed he did not know about the issue, the issue of the agreement was not revealed to him as it was not revealed to many people. There was a US request to keep it a secret and a limited number of people in all three countries were exposed to it.”

Is this a routine?
“Certainly so.”

Should the defense minister not be involved in such a sensitive issue?
“Mention how many sensitive issues were there? Rabin and Peres in the Oslo Accords?”

It does not give kosher.
“The head of the National Security Council talks to senior IDF officials as a matter of routine, so there were no detours.”

Do you think it is right to contact the Air Force commander without updating the chief of staff?
“In current affairs, the head of the National Security Council addresses senior generals in the IDF directly, usually, unless there is a reverse request from the Minister of Defense or the Chief of Staff, this is the working procedures of the National Security Council.”

This demonstrates the lack of trust between the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, why the fear?
“It is not a question of what he feared, if there was a request to keep things secret.”

But this is security meat.
“So what? When you go before a head of state and he wants to keep it a secret, it’s a very natural thing to do.”

What we see is that there are no free gifts, no peace for peace, we also see that the US is giving the planes and maybe more things, and also the annexation that has fallen out of the chapter.
“First of all, yes, peace for peace, they have tried to sell us for years that peace has only one exchange, Israeli withdrawals, consent to a Palestinian state, concessions and you see that state after state agrees to make peace with us.”

And happy, but is it peace for peace?
“There is always something, do you think the countries have become Zionist?”.

But at least say it clearly. The prime minister said ‘peace for peace’.
“It must have been here, when the Prime Minister speaks of peace for peace he speaks of the negation of the thesis set at the time, I speak of Sudan, these principles were established that without giving up the Palestinians there would be no recognition and normalization and no process and that principle disappeared.”

And the annexation?
“In what sense? We really wanted to apply sovereignty but unfortunately the Americans that it should have been in their agreement also under the coalition agreement changed their position and for now at least until the election.”

Here’s another consideration, and if there is another president there will surely be such a consideration.
“I have no doubt that if the application of sovereignty had a chance to get American consent – we would have applied. Unfortunately, they decided otherwise and in this situation created this political achievement is tremendous, it is possible to pargan as well.”

Congratulations, just need the truth. Who is the next country to sign an agreement?
“We’ll wait and see. I don’t think it’s worth predicting ahead of time.”

Will this happen before the US election?
“I do not know, I am neither Trump nor Netanyahu. I think you see that the American president is making efforts to expand this framework and the dramatic change that will bring to the Middle East, if he succeeds? We will wait and see. We can already say that there is something to say thank you to Trump.”

Hearing about the political construction, a new prime minister, Ya’alon in support of Yesh Atid and blue and white maybe, Bennett of course, realistic?
“It’s all a spin, it’s funny to me, a spin by Yair Lapid. Moshe Boogie Ya’alon, when he ran a separate party, did not pass the blocking percentage and entered the Knesset on the back of Yair Lapid.”

But it is numerically possible.
“It’s impossible, because you’ve already seen people who built on them, who shook it off and said they weren’t willing to go that route.”

It will not happen?
“The right posted a clear message, albeit a cheeky one in its wording but clearly said they were not part of this king.”

Ya’alon as interim prime minister, not to replace Lapid.
“I understand, at the moment I think it is not possible for the voices of Hiba Yazbek to have Boogie Ya’alon, other voices are not sure.”

Why is Bennett rude?
“Talking about the prime minister in such terms is not what you would expect from any public leader, it is in the end also his prime minister and certainly not a party that is supposedly on the political right. You can argue and be in competition for the votes, but the wording about the prime minister is ours and camp leader. The right, which Bennett is trying to claim belongs to … “.

What about helping students?
“We are now including today in a very intense dialogue with the Ministry of Finance and other parties in order to bring very significant assistance to the student public who were severely affected during the period of the Corona crisis.”

How to prevent shedding?
“Significant assistance is very large sums to bring assistance to student scholarships that are difficult in the period and significant on a very large scale.”







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