Israel Qme Enhancement Actby Representative Doug Collins
Posted on 2013-12-11
COLLINS of Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do appreciate
that. I do appreciate what your staff and others have done, the ranking
member, in moving this legislation through. And also my good friend
from Illinois (Mr. Schneider) in where we have been able to work
together. I would be remiss also if I did not recognize Vernon Robinson
from my staff as well, who is with me today, who has kept this going
while we have worked. So I appreciate his work and the rest of our
staff in doing so.
I introduced H.R. 1992, the Israel QME Enhancement Act, to ensure our commitment to Israel's qualitative military edge remains substantial and meaningful.
This legislation allows Congress to conduct oversight of weapon sales in the Middle East with increased frequency. Due to the instability in the region, it is vitally important that the qualitative military edge review process be updated to reflect the needs of Israel. H.R. 1992 accomplishes this goal by directing the President to report to Congress every 2 years regarding the assessment of Israel's qualitative military edge over military threats to Israel and related weapon sales in the Middle East.
This is a marked improvement over our current law, which only requires such a report to be issued every 4 years.
H.R. 1992 also requires the President to issue a report to Congress on the criteria issued to include cyber and asymmetric threats in the QME report.
Large conventional armies are less likely to mobilize against Israel, but terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas are a constant threat. I am very concerned by the cyber attacks that have been launched against Israel, as well as the continued onslaught of terrorist attacks that threaten the security and stability of this peace-loving nation.
The QME doctrine originated during the Johnson administration, but came [[Page H7652]] into practice during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when the United States conducted one of the largest military airlifts in history to resupply Israel with military hardware. Since Israel's victory in the conflict, the United States has sworn to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge remains strong, as surrounding Middle Eastern countries often possess a quantitative advantage.
The benefits of the Israeli-American relationship are undeniable. Our alliance has been vital for each nation's intelligence efforts. Both nations have provided valuable information that has saved the lives of civilians, as well as military personnel.
I have recognized the value of America's partnership for many years, and I am humbled and grateful to now be in a position where I can support this alliance on the floor of the House.
America's support for Israel should be strong and responsive to the changing threats facing our ally. Their military threat is a vital component to promoting stability and peace in the Middle East. I am pleased by the steadfast commitment this body and our leadership have shown in maintaining a vibrant partnership with Israel.
As the vice chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, I am committed to promoting policy decisions that ensure Israel will be equipped to maintain the only stable democracy in the Middle East.
In recent weeks, there have been rounds of negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear capabilities. As a result of these negotiations, an agreement was reached with Iran, the details of which put Israel in a very difficult position.
Many questions remain about Iran's continued ability to enrich uranium and the billions of dollars they will gain in sanctions relief, questions such as: Where will these be used and how will the money be used for other attacks such as Hezbollah or others in this area? One thing I am certain of, however, is the savings will not be spent on any effort advantageous to U.S. or Israel. Now more than ever, Congress must demonstrate its unwavering commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Israel relations during such an unpredictable time in the Middle East. This is something that is needed. It is something for our friend Israel. It protects our interests and protects Israel's interests.
With that, I would urge support of H.R. 1992.
Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.