jet - Haaretz - Aug 24 2010
F-35 stealth jet.
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AP
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem exits a meeting at the UN, Friday, Sept. 24, 2010. Photo by AP

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Saturday that a recently finalized deal, in which Israel would purchase 20 U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter jets, would destabilize the region.

Under the contract signed Between Israeli and U.S. delegates in New York last week Israel will get 20 of the warplanes for more than $3 billion, which would be delivered by approximately 2016. It has an option for 75 more.

Speaking at the Arab League summit in Libya, the Syrian minister expressed disappointment at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision not to extend the 10-moth settlement freeze in order to continue talks with the Palestinian Authority.

An Arab League committee said on Friday it endorsed the decision of the Palestinian leadership to halt talks with Israel over renewed construction in West Bank settlements.

The committee of Arab foreign ministers, which handles issues related to the peace process, also expressed hope that the United States would keep up pressure on Israel to halt settlement building, the group's chairman told reporters.

Last month, a ministerial panel headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a final decision to purchase 20 new F-35 fighter jets, despite opposition from a number of senior defense officials over the high cost of the deal.
The entire deal will be funded by American military.