On Sunday, Israel’s intelligence minister said Israel would oppose any US sale of F-35 fighter jets to Qatar. The comments came after a report from Reuters last week that said Qatar made a formal request to the US for the warplanes.
“The answer is yes,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said when asked if Israel would oppose the sale. “Our security and military superiority in the region are the most significant things for us. Our region has still not turned into Switzerland.”
Qatar’s request for F-35s came after the US agreed to consider selling the fighter jets to the UAE as part of Abu Dhabi’s normalization deal with Israel. Congress has raised concerns similar to Cohen’s over the possible UAE deal and Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME).
The QME is mandated by US law and means Washington will ensure Israel maintains military superiority over its neighbors. Israeli officials initially rejected the potential sale to the UAE but have since submitted a wishlist of advanced weaponry to the White House in the case that the sale to Abu Dhabi goes through.
Washington’s concern for Israel’s QME was put on display earlier this month when a group of bipartisan members of Congress introduced a bill that would give Israel the power to veto US arms sales to the Middle East.