The United States administration has reportedly blocked a $500 million arms deal between Israel and Croatia after Outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis rejected a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the sale of 12 F-16 fighter jets.
"For reasons we don't fully understand, the Americans hardened their conditions and, apparently, we misread their position on the deal. Practically, the F-16 deal with Croatia is dead and we don't think it is possible to get an agreement that will reconcile the U.S. conditions and the Croatian demands in the tender," Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 news reported on Axios news portal Thursday.
“Netanyahu called Mattis two weeks ago — before the latter's resignation — and asked him to soften the U.S. terms for the deal. Mattis told Netanyahu he had gone a long way for Israel on several issues but couldn't show any flexibility regarding this deal,” Ravid reported.
Netanyahu considered calling Marilyn Hewson, the president and CEO of Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the jets, to ask for help in getting the deal approved but ultimately decided it was a lost cause, the report stated quoting an unnamed Israeli Official as saying to the journalist.