U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., issued the following statement celebrating the passage of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, legislation that reaffirms the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and the strong, historic U.S.-Israel relationship.
“Since coming to office, I have consistently emphasized the importance of building a lasting diplomatic partnership with Israel. The passage of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act further affirms that the U.S. stands with Israel and is committed to a strong and enduring relationship.
“I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to preserve the legacy of shared democratic principles and cooperation that has allowed the United States and Israel to benefit from our strong diplomatic ties.”
In July, Sen. Booker joined U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer D-C.A. and Roy Blunt R-M.O., to introduce the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. The legislation supports efforts to deepen U.S.-Israeli cooperation on defense, including continued U.S. assistance to Israel for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System, while also reiterating U.S. support for a negotiated political settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians that results in two states living side-by-side in peace and security.
Specifically, the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014:
· Authorizes an increase of $200 million in the value of U.S. weapons held in Israel, to a total of $1.8 billion. This stockpile is intended for use by U.S. forces in the event of a crisis, but it can also be used by Israel in the event of an emergency with Israel reimbursing the U.S. for any weapons used.
· Requires the administration to take steps toward allowing Israel to be included in the top-tier category for license-free exports of certain U.S. technologies and products.
· Authorizes the president to carry out cooperation between the U.S. and Israel on a range of policy areas including energy, water, homeland security, and alternative fuel technologies. And it requires the president to study the feasibility of expanding U.S.-Israel cooperation on cyber security.
· Includes new language that encourages the administration to work with Israel to help the country gain entry into the Visa Waiver Program, which would make it easier for Israeli citizens to travel to the United States without first having to obtain a visa.
· Requires the administration to provide more frequent and more detailed assessments on the status of Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors.
· Strengthens collaboration between the U.S. and Israel on energy development and encourages increased cooperation between the two countries’ academic, business, and governmental sectors.
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