In that context, the Bush administration has dispatched Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Israel, who will arrive tonight for meetings on strategic issues with his counter part, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The Gates visit was said to have signaled the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Israel in wake of an unmanned aerial vehicle upgrade project for China in 2004.
The Pentagon, angered that Israel tried to conceal the project, severed high-level ties, blocked sensitive exports and denied Israel access to the Joint Strike Fighter program. Israel was not believed to have completed the Harpy UAV upgrade for Beijing.
In September 2005, Israel and the United States agreed to consult on proposed arms exports by the Jewish state. Israel also pledged to make its export approval process transparent, legislation that has not yet been approved by the Knesset.
The alleged "concern" about the US selling advanced F-15 and F-16 fighters to Saudi Arabia is simply a bargaining chip with which Israel hopes to gain more advantage in the deal.