A permanent source of friction in Israeli-American relations has been the sale of U.S. weapons to Arab countries that are formally in a state of war with Israel. The U.S. decided to sell 72 F-15 jet fighters to Saudi Arabia, partly as a result of the Saudi role in the 1991 Gulf War and partly to beat off potential European arms manufacturers. Israel felt that this decision accelerated the regional arms race. The subject was discussed in August by Prime Minister Rabin and President Bush. The U.S. said that irrespective of this and other sales, it would always maintain the IDF's qualitative edge. Nevertheless, Israel's Government felt it was bound to express its reservations over this sale. Text:
At the weekly cabinet meeting, today (Sunday), 13.9.92:
1. Within the framework of the Ministerial Committee for National Security, the chief-of-staff and the police inspector-general briefed the cabinet on ongoing matters.
2. The following is the Government response to the united States decision to sell 72 F- 15 aircraft to Saudi Arabia:
A. The decision of the United States administration to sell 72 F-15 aircraft to Saudi Arabia accelerates the arms race in the Middle East.
B. The Israeli Government opposes the sale of arms, especially sophisticated weapons, to an Arab country in a state of war with Israel.
C. Israel has brought, and will bring, its above-stated position to the attention of government and public elements in the United States.
D. Israel insists that the United States act in accordance with its commitment to maintain the qualitative edge of the Israel Defense Forces.
E. Last month, during the talks that the prime minister held with President Bush and the secretaries of state and defense, a number of courses of action were agreed upon in order to preserve the qualitative edge of the IDF. The dialogue with the administration on this issue will continue.