Report: Mattis Rejected Netanyahu’s Request For Arms Deal With Croatia

An Israeli Air Force F-16 departs on a combat mission during the Blue Flag exercise on Uvda Air Force Base, Israel Nov. 27, 2013. Aircraft from the 492nd Fighter Squadron deployed to participate in the exercise, which promoted improved operational capability, combat effectiveness, understanding and cooperation between the U.S., Israel, Greece, and Italy. The unit engaged multiple heavy air defense assets, ground base targets and simulated opposition forces to meet combined operations requirements. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lee Osberry/Released)

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.



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