US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper vowed on Tuesday that the US will help maintain Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME). The QME is mandated by US law and means the US will uphold Israel’s military superiority over its neighbors.
Esper’s made these comments as he welcomed Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to the Pentagon. “A cornerstone of our defense relationship is preserving Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region,” Esper said. “The United States is committed to that, and the Department of Defense is committed to that imperative.”
Gantz traveled to Washington to meet with Esper and other US officials to discuss Israel’s QME amidst rumors of a US F-35 sale to the UAE. A report from Reuters published on Tuesday said that the US is looking to agree to an initial deal with the Gulf country by December.
The F-35 sale is believed to have been agreed to while the US was brokering a normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, which was signed last week. Although Israeli officials publicly protested the sale at first, now they seem to be accepting it and are requesting some new weapons of their own.
Gantz also met with White House advisor Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. Besides Israel’s QME, Iran policy was also discussed. “We will continue our uncompromising efforts to curb Iranian aggression and harness more countries toward the effort,” Gantz told O’Brien.