NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY
The U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Act was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and in the House by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Signed into law by President Obama on July 27, the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 strengthens security cooperation between the two allies.
President Obama Signs U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Act
The legislation expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should increase cooperation with Israel on intelligence, including satellite intelligence, expand joint military exercises and allow the Israeli Air Force to conduct exercises in American airspace.
The law extends the availability of up to $9 billion in loan guarantees to Israel through fiscal year 2015. It extends the authority to transfer surplus defense materials, such as weapons and munitions, to Israel through fiscal year 2014 and amends a 1961 law to continue the authority to make contributions to foreign defense stockpiles through that time period.
In addition, the legislation expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should support further development of joint missile defense systems and allows the United States to provide Israel with air refueling tankers, missile defense technology and specialized munitions.
The law also requires a report from the president on means to expedite Israel’s acquisition of fifth-generation F-35 aircraft from the United States.
Additional language expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should strengthen efforts to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza.
Further, the law expresses American support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pledges that the United States would veto any anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. Security Council. Additionally, the measure calls for an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
As he prepared to sign the bill, Obama said it shows America’s “unshakable” commitment to Israel. “In many ways what this legislation does is bring together all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen, really, at an unprecedented level between our two countries,” he said.
At the signing ceremony, the president also announced he would release an additional $70 million in military assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome rocket defense system, a gesture that was previously made public in May.
The U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Act originally passed the House on May 9 by an overwhelming vote of 411-2. In July, both the House and Senate voted for final passage by voice vote.
The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and in the House by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).