Bronx, NY—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today introduced legislation to restrict the sales of certain arms to Middle East countries outside of Israel unless those countries meet a number of benchmarks. Chairman Engel introduced the Middle East Advanced Technology Protection Act in light of the Trump Administration’s intention to sell 50 F-35 aircraft to the United Arab Emirates, raising serious concerns about the potential spread of such advanced weaponry in the region and its potential impact on Israel’s security.
“The Trump Administration has made it clear that they’ll put lethal weaponry in just about anyone’s hands without regard to potential loss of life so long as the check clears. So it’s up to Congress to consider the ramifications of allowing new partners to purchase the F-35 and other advanced systems. We need to know that such weapons will be used properly and in a way aligned with our security interests, which include protecting Israel’s qualitative military edge and ensuring adversaries can’t get their hands on American technology,” said Chairman Engel. “The bill I’m introducing would lay out clear conditions governments would have to meet if they want to purchase the F-35 and other sensitive equipment.”
Chairman Engel introduced his legislation along with Representatives Deutch, Spanberger, Malinowski, Gottheimer, Schneider, Wasserman Schultz, Stephanie Murphy, Trone, Sherman, and Connolly.
The Middle East Advanced Technology Protection Act would condition the sales of defense equipment, such as the F-35, electronic warfare aircraft, and unmanned aerial systems to any country in the Middle East outside of Israel on the recipient country’s adherence to the following criteria:
- The recipient country has signed an agreement of peace or normalization with Israel.
- Israel and the United States would maintain their military advantage.
- The weapons have been modified to ensure that Israel is able to identify, locate, and continually track the weapons and that the recipient country will not alter such modifications.
- The recipient country will protect the weapons from theft or diversion of sensitive defense technology to any other country or non-state actor and will not transfer those weapons without authorization.
- The recipient country will not violate international humanitarian law or internationally recognized human rights.
- The recipient country will consult with the United States relating to the mission, flight plan, and purpose of use of the weapons.
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