Outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis rejected a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to soften the United States’ conditions for a $500 million arms deal between Israel and Croatia for the sale of 12 F-16 fighter jets, AXIOS reports.
In order to give a green light to the deal, the U.S. demanded that Israel remove the Israeli systems installed in the F-16s and return the jets to their original condition before transferring them to Croatia. The Croatians responded that they would cancel the deal if they couldn’t get the “upgraded” Israeli version of the F-16s.
Netanyahu called Mattis two weeks ago — before the latter’s resignation — and asked him to soften the U.S. terms for the deal. After Mattis told Netanyahu that he had gone a long way for Israel on several issues but couldn’t show any flexibility regarding this deal, Israel gave up on pursuing the deal.
The Pentagon, the State Department and the Prime Minister’s office did not respond to requests for comments.
Read more at AXIOS.