The U.S. Senate rejected a push on Wednesday to block a $23 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets and MQ9 Reaper armed drones to the United Arab Emirates.

Procedural votes to advance two resolutions, one targeting the F-35 sales and the other on the drones, failed on a 47-49 and 46-50 votes, respectively.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) led the effort to halt the sale, which is a result of the UAE normalizing ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords signed on Sept. 15.

The votes came ahead of a 30-day period that ends on Friday for Congress to block the sale. By law, U.S. arms sales to foreign countries can proceed unless Congress blocks it within 30 days of formally being notified of the proposed sale.

The White House had threatened to veto the resolutions if they reached U.S. President Donald Trump’s desk.

Although Israel had initially expressed objections about the sale over concerns it could undermine its Qualitative Military Edge in the Middle East, it recently gave its approval for the sale after receiving assurances from the United States that it wouldn’t undermine its military edge. U.S. law requires Israel to have the military edge in the Middle East.


Jewish News Syndicate

With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.

Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.

If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.

We appreciate your support.