As Mike Pompeo notifies Congress that US will sell over $23 billion of arms to the UAE, Senate warns about Israel’s ‘military edge’


(JTA) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally notified Congress on Tuesday that that the U.S. plans to sell $23.4 billion of arms to the United Arab Emirates, spurring the Senate to call on the State Department to ensure that the sale will not “diminish Israel’s qualitative military edge” in the region.

The UAE stands to be the only other country in the Middle East besides Israel with certain advanced military technology involved in the sale, including the F-35 stealth fighter jet.

The Senate Appropriations Committee included language on the sale in its 2021 spending bill, adding that whatever is sold should not add to “vulnerabilities to U.S. military systems and technology vis-a-vis the Russian Federation and [the People’s Republic of China],” The Hill reported.

The arms package has been negotiated in the wake of Israel’s recent peace deal with the UAE. Before the peace agreement was finished, rumors swirled about a possible sale and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to it.

Late last month, Netanyahu dropped his objections.

“Only after signing the agreement, the Americans told us that the Emirates, which always asks for F-35s, is asking permission from us to consider this thing practically,” Netanyahu said.

“Only yesterday did we give our approval to this deal,” he said on Oct. 24.

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner pledged in September to “do what we can” with the deal to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge, a standard that was codified in a 2008 U.S. law.

Jewish Democrats have opposed the sale. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrote in a Miami Herald op-ed that the F-35 has “unique capabilities that should be reserved only for Israel’s use.”

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