Citing Israel’s military edge, top Democrats aim to slow sale of F-35s to UAE


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Citing Israel’s military edge, top Democrats aim to slow sale of F-35s to UAE
Raising concerns about implications of transferring stealth jets to United Arab Emirates, Senators Menendez and Feinstein introduce bill requiring congressional oversight on deal
By Ron Kampeas
20 April 2021

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top US Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would slow down the sale of F-35 stealth combat aircraft to the United Arab Emirates, part of the deal closed by the Trump administration as an incentive to normalize relations with Israel. Critics of the sale say it undercuts Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region. Sen. Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a longtime former chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, have introduced legislation that would mandate congressional oversight to ensure that the transfer of the aircraft complied with US law upholding Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East.

“I remain concerned with the implications of a sale of our most advanced fighter jet given numerous outstanding, unanswered questions about the implications of this sale for US national security, our technology interests, and implications for regional stability including the legal parameters of Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge,” Menendez said. An official of AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobby, said the group had not taken a position on the bill “although we appreciate the senators’ commitment to preserve Israel’s QME.”