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article imageNew US bill gives Israel influence over US arms sales

By Ken Hanly     Oct 6, 2020 in Politics
A new US bill would require the US President to consult with Israel before approving any weapons sales in the Middle East area.
Bill has bipartisan supporters
The bill was introduced in the US House by a group of bipartisan legislators that would in effect give Israel veto power over US arms sales to the area. Representative Brad Schneider (Democrat Illinois) introduced the bill and said that it would require the President to consult with Israel before approving any weapons sales to the area that could jeopardize Israel's Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in the area.
Seventeen other members of the US Congress sponsored the bill along with Schneider. Schneider said: "Israel is our single most important ally in the Middle East, and Congress will not let any President undermine her security with unapproved weapons sales.” Israeli views will no doubt usually prevail after discussions, but the US Congress ultimately determines whether a sale is consistent with the QME not Israel. Technically Israel has no veto power over the issue.
AIPAC the prominent Israel lobby group supports the new law.
The QME
US law mandates the QME and implies that the US will ensure that Israel maintain military superiority over its neighbors in the region. The new law ensures that Israel is consulted before any decisions that arms sales are in compliance with the QME.
The F-35 sale issue
The UAE and Israel have agreed to normalize relations and since then the US has agreed to a possible sale of F-35 fighter planes to the UAE. Originally Israel objected to the proposed sale of F-35s to the UAE. However, it has subsequently submitted a wish list costing more than $8 billion in advanced weaponry should the sale of planes to the UAE go through.Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in September about the deal. Esper vowed the US would maintain Israel’s QME.
More about US arms sales, Israel US relations, Qualitative Military Edge
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