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Israel, US begin developing next generation 'Arrow-4' missiles

Israel and the US will collaborate to develop the anti-ballistic missiles [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 February, 2021

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The Israeli Ministry of Defence and the US Missile Defence Agency have begun work on a new generation of anti-ballistic 'Arrow-4' missiles.
Israel announced on Thursday that it was working on a new generation of anti-ballistic missile defence systems in cooperation with Washington, weeks after the new Biden administration brought new scrutiny to its arms deals in the Middle East.

The Israeli Ministry of Defence said it was collaborating with the US Missile Defence Agency on developing the next generation of missiles, dubbed “Arrow-4.”

The partnership will boost Israel’s “defensive and offensive capabilities,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz said. The Arrow-4 interceptor is set to be the most advanced of its kind, according to Arrow system producer, MLM Division.

The announcement comes as US President Joe Biden’s administration begins reviewing arms deals in the Middle East as part of an effort to end agreements that breach obligations on human rights.

Biden paused a massive deal to sell dozens of F-35 planes to the United Arab Emirates, negotiated last year by former President Donald Trump in the wake of the UAE's normalisation of relations with Israel.

The current US president has also imposed a temporary freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, in line with his pledge to stop assisting the military intervention against the Houthi rebel group in Yemen.

Israel is one of the United States’ largest arms importers. Washington delivers large quantities of weapons to Israel.

Human rights groups have found that some of these weapons have been used to commit serious violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian Territories.

Read also: US accepts talks with Iran, backtracks on Trump sanctions claim

Biden spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday for the first time since taking office. According to readouts of the call, they spoke about Iran and the strengthening of the US-Israeli relationship.

The alliance between the two countries may be tested if Washington restores US participation in the Iran nuclear deal, from which Trump withdrew.

Biden has also expressed opposition to opposes further Israeli settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

The US said on Thursday it was ready to talk with Iran and reversed Trump's claims of new UN sanctions, providing an opening to jumpstart nuclear diplomacy.

After speaking with his European counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed a proposal to convene talks of all the countries that were part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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