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UAE and Israel 'have history of secret arms deals', report says

Israeli businessmen and Emirati businessmen have been complicit in secret arms deals [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 7 October, 2017

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Israeli businessman Metai Kokhafi was responsible for brokering arms deals with his Emirati counterparts

Israeli and UAE businessmen have allegedly brokered secret arms agreements, an investigation in Israel has revealed.

Israeli businessman Metai Kokhafi was allegedly responsible for brokering arms deals with his Emirati counterparts, according to a report in Maariv newspaper. 

He said Kokhafi hired a private plane to fly his assistants and generals into the UAE capital Abu Dhabi to agree on the terms of the deal.

An Israeli military visit to the capital was an essential part of each military sales, the jouralist alleged.

Amog the generals who were reported to have visited Abu Dhabi was the former commander of the Israeli Air Force, Eitan Ben Eliyahu. He led the weapons during Operation Grapes of Wrath in southern Lebanon in 1996.

The report says that Kokhavi had "embarrassed Israel" after he boasted during a meeting in Singapore that he and his team were mediating arms deals with the UAE.

The investigation did not specify whether the Abu Dhabi government was complicit in carrying out the arms deals.

Tel Aviv's censorship

In the report, Melman had criticised Tel Aviv for remaining silent on arms dealings and co-operation with Arab states, saying that it would be beneficial for Israel if the evolving relationship was more overt.

He said the reason behind censorship, which is to "ensure no lives of officials are put in danger" is redundant, hinting that normalising relations with Arab states should be made public.

Melman had also drawn parallels between Tel Aviv's quiet relationship with Abu Dhabi with Israel's open diplomatic ties with Egypt.

He believes Israeli media should be more open about the government's close ties with Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's regime in Egypt.

According to the report, the Israeli Military Censor has refused to cover the intelligence cooperation between Cairo and Tel Aviv.

Israeli intelligence corps unit Unit 8200 has allegedly been providing the Egyptian army with intelligence information during the battle against the militants connected with the Islamic State group in the Sinai.

The report had also criticised Israel for refusing to admit to supplying weapons to the Myanmar military, with the government accused of committing war crimes against the country's Muslim Rohingya population. 

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