Normalizing with Israel, Arab states look to gain powerful ally in Washington

Israel has lobbied on behalf of countries willing to establish ties, and others hoping for the same kind of muscle on the Hill are likely taking notice

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after addressing a joint meeting of Congress in a speech opposing the imminent Iran nuclear deal . (AP/Andrew Harnik)

NEW YORK — Less than 24 hours passed between Senate Democrats failing to block US President Donald Trump’s administration from selling F-35 fighter jets and other advanced arms to the United Arab Emirates and the announcement that Morocco had agreed to re-establish official diplomatic relations with Israel.

There is no direct linkage between Rabat’s move and the massive arms sale, which many believe would not have gone forward had Israel not given the deal its own imprimatur following Abu Dhabi’s agreement to normalize with Israel several months earlier. But the proximity of the two events still served to underscore how Jerusalem’s ability to throw its weight around Washington likely factors into the calculus as Arab countries mull establishing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

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