Legislators aim to further expand security aid so as to improve Israel’s capabilities vis-à-vis Iran, Defense News weekly reports
WASHINGTON – The US Senate is currently reviewing the US-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month.
The bill proposes shared satellite intelligence, aerial refueling tankers, specialized munitions and surplus drawdown gear from Iraq.
A Senate aide said the bill has already amassed nearly 50 co-sponsors and is expected to pass “by a lopsided margin or even unanimous vote” once it reaches the Senate floor, the Defense News weekly reported.
“There should not be one scintilla of light between the positions of Republicans and Democrats on the issue of the security of Israel,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson.
The bill was introduced by Jewish Senator Barbara Boxer of California and aims to extend US government-backed loan guarantees to Israel through 2015. It also urges expanded technology sharing and joint military exercises.
A detailed look at the bill indicates that US lawmakers are in tune with Jerusalem’s proclaimed needs manifested in expanded security aid in areas that are pertinent to a possible campaign against Iran.The bill, for example, offers the Israel Air Force additional training opportunities in the US to compensate for Israel’s limited air space and encourages an expanded role for Israel within NATO, “including enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises.”
It also proposes making surplus defense gear and services available to Israel, particularly those resulting from the US pullout from Iraq. Under the bill, the US will also strengthen efforts to prevent weapon smuggling into Gaza and threats infiltrating from the Sinai Peninsula.
Moreover, US legislators are also demanding to allocate additional weaponry and munitions and extend the time allocated for US war reserves stockpiled in Israel and expand bilateral cooperation in homeland security, counterterrorism, maritime security, energy and cybersecurity.
By Yitzhak Benhorin