Bipartisan Bill Proposed to Give Israel Power Over US Arms Sales

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By Sam Baghal, International News Editor

A new bipartisan bill was introduced to the House of Representatives this week by Democrat Brad Schneider, proposing to give Israel jurisdiction over U.S. arms sales to the Middle East. 

The establishment of this bill is in response to Israeli objection toward the Trump administration’s impending sale of F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The negotiation of this deal was also met with a lot of internal opposition from House Democrats, arguing that it would violate foreign policy put in place to protect Israel’s armament advantage.

While there is existing legislation to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East, the authority of deciding the standards of this ‘edge’ is the responsibility of the U.S. Congress. This new bill would transfer that power to the Israeli government, easing their concerns about the F-35 deal and other future sales. 

“Despite the incredible steps towards peace that have been made, there are still plenty of entities that wish to harm Israel,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in a supportive statement on Friday. “This is why it is so important that we support Israel and help to preserve its Qualitative Military Edge (QME), to ensure the safety of the Israeli people and maintain stability in the region.”

While many officials side with Fitzpatrick’s argument that the U.S. should consult Israel before making a determination on Middle Eastern weapons sales, a lot of Americans view this legislation as a threat. 

“I think it is important for both nations to communicate with one another and reach a mutual agreement when it comes to arms sales,” said Senior Jamie Hamalainen. “With that being said, I think giving the Israeli government absolute jurisdiction and the ability to veto deals is too extreme. Middle Eastern sales have become a lot more valuable as of recently, and this resignation of power will jeopardize their profitability.”