Since Israel’s peace deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a sale of arms, including F35s, to the UAE seemed inevitable. Israel first bristled at this idea, but has recently seemed to tolerate the sale so long as they get free equipment from the US in return.
Nothing’s ever that easy, however, and Senators from both parties, Jim Risch (R-ID) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), are now resisting the idea, saying they believe the sale doesn’t meet legal requirements to assure Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge.
Menendez argued that Israel couldn’t be said to retain its edge, in having F35s, if someone else got F35s. That was roughly the argument Israel was making as well, though the fact that the sales went to a nation that they are now friends with seemingly changes things, at least somewhat.
The UAE has tried to reassure critics that they aren’t going to erode Israel’s edge or share technology with Russia. Though they’ve seemingly answered all questions, there remains resistance to such sales, both because of Israel, and because there is already concern the US is selling too much to the UAE.