(September 11, 2020 / JNS) Congressional Democrats have called on U.S. President Donald Trump to ensure Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in any weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates.
The letter from nine congressional Democrats makes the legal and foreign-policy arguments for maintaining Israel’s QME and reminds the administration that Congress must approve any pending arms sales that could have a detrimental effect on Israel’s security.
The letter comes in light of reports that the Trump administration is currently in talks to sell F-35s and advanced military technology to the United Arab Emirates, following the U.S.-brokered Israel-UAE normalization deal on Aug. 13 that is scheduled to be formalized on Tuesday.
The letter was signed by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Ted Lieu (R-Calif.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.).
“In light of the clear strategic and legal requirements for U.S. preserving Israel’s QME, we are concerned about reports that your administration is considering significant sales of F-35 stealth fighters and advanced drone technology to any of Israel’s regional neighbors,” they wrote. “This is especially troubling given the years of opposition to such a sale by the Israeli national security community, including strenuous opposition voiced recently by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.”
“While we celebrate the recent agreement brokered between Israel and the UAE, and resolutely want it to succeed, we have to also ensure that Israel maintains its QME,” continued the Democrats. “We must, therefore, carefully scrutinize any proposed sale of advanced military technology like the F-35 to any nation in the region and make certain that we will continue to fulfill our legal and strategic QME commitment to Israel’s basic security needs.”
Finally, the signatories wrote, “As stalwart supporters of Israel, we will oppose any arms sale that would threaten Israel’s QME, and we will take every opportunity to advocate for Israel’s security. In accordance with U.S. law, we firmly expect your administration keep Congress fully apprised of any pending arms sales to the region.”
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