On September 18 2014 the United States Senate unanimously passed S. 2673, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. This resolution once again affirms the fact that Israel is a major partner of the United States and paves the way for further extended cooperation in the future. The legislation was a bipartisan success and was introduced by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The Department of Defense Appropriations act of 2005 was amended by the legislation, allowing for the increased transfer of obsolete and surplus military supplies from the United States to Israel. The United States-Israel Strategic Cooperation Act of 2014 also provides for increased funding and cooperation in the fields of renewable energy sources, homeland security, cybersecurity, and agriculture. The act also puts Israel on the track to becoming a US Visa waiver country when Israel meets certain requirements, meaning that citizens of either country will not need international Visas when travelling inbetween. The act was introduced on July 28, passed by the Senate on September 18, and was approved by the House of Representatives by a voice vote on December 3 2014. The act will now go through it's final legal hurdle and will be sent to President Obama for his signature. The full text of the act can be found below.
To enhance the strategic partnership between the United States and Israel.
Section 1: Short Title
This Act may be cited as the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014.
Section 2: Findings
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The people and the Governments of the United States and of Israel share a deep and unbreakable bond, forged by over 60 years of shared interests and shared values.
(2) Today, the people and Governments of the United States and of Israel are facing a dynamic and rapidly changing security environment in the Middle East and North Africa, necessitating deeper cooperation on a range of defense, security, and intelligence matters.
(3) From Gaza, Hamas continues to deny Israel’s right to exist and persists in firing rockets indiscriminately at population centers in Israel.
(4) Hezbollah—with support from Iran—continues to stockpile rockets and may be seeking to exploit the tragic and volatile security situation within Syria.
(5) The Government of Iran continues to pose a grave threat to the region and the world at large with its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons.
(6) Given these challenges, it is imperative that the United States continues to deepen cooperation with allies like Israel in pursuit of shared policy objectives.
Section 3: Statement of Policy
It is the policy of the United States—
(1) to reaffirm the unwavering support of the people and the Government of the United States for the security of Israel as a Jewish state;
(2) to reaffirm the principles and objectives enshrined in the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–150) and ensure its implementation to the fullest extent;
(3) to reaffirm the importance of the 2007 United States-Israel Memorandum of Understanding on United States assistance to Israel and the semi-annual Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Israel;
(4) to pursue every opportunity to deepen cooperation with Israel on a range of critical issues including defense, homeland security, energy, and cybersecurity;
(5) to continue to provide Israel with robust security assistance, including for the procurement of the Iron Dome Missile Defense System; and
(6) to support the Government of Israel in its ongoing efforts to reach a negotiated political settlement with the Palestinian people that results in two states living side-by-side in peace and security.
Section 4: Sense of Congress on Israel as a major strategic partner
It is the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States.
Section 5: Extension of war reserves stockpile authority
(a) Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2005
Section 12001(d) of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2005 (Public Law 108–287; 118 Stat. 1011) is amended by striking more than 10 years after and inserting more than 11 years after.
(b) Foreign Assistance Act of 1961
Section 514(b)(2)(A) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2321h(b)(2)(A)) is amended by striking and 2014 and inserting , 2014, and 2015.
Section 6: Eligibility of Israel for the strategic trade authorization exception to certain export control licensing requirements
Congress finds that Israel—
(1) has adopted high standards in the field of export controls;
(2) has declared its unilateral adherence to the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group; and
(3) is a party to—
(A) the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, signed at Geneva October 10, 1980;
(B) the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva June 17, 1925; and
(C) the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, adopted at Vienna on October 26, 1979.(b)
Eligibility for strategic trade authorization exception
The President, consistent with the commitments of the United States under international arrangements, shall take steps so that Israel may be included in the list of countries eligible for the strategic trade authorization exception under section 740.20(c)(1) of title 15, Code of Federal Regulations, to the requirement for a license for the export, reexport, or in-country transfer of an item subject to controls under the Export Administration Regulations.
Section 7: United States-Israel cooperation on energy, water, homeland security, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies
(a) In general:
The President is authorized, subject to existing law—
(1)to undertake activities in cooperation with Israel; and
(2)to provide assistance promoting cooperation in the fields of energy, water, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies.
In carrying out subsection (a), the President is authorized, subject to existing requirements of law and any applicable agreements or understandings between the United States and Israel—(c) Cooperative research pilot programs:
(1) to share and exchange with Israel research, technology, intelligence, information, equipment, and personnel, including through sales, leases, or exchanges in kind, that the President determines will advance the national security interests of the United States and are consistent with the Strategic Dialogue and pertinent provisions of law; and
(2) to enhance scientific cooperation between Israel and the United States.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through the Director of the Homeland SAecurityAdvanced Research Projects Agency and with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, is authorized, subject to existing law, to enter into cooperative research pilot programs with Israel to enhance Israel’s capabilities in—
(1) border, maritime, and aviation security;
(2) explosives detection; and
(3) emergency services.
Section 8: Report on increased United States-Israel cooperation on cybersecurity
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to Congress a report, in a classified format or including a classified annex, as appropriate, on the feasibility and advisability of expanding United States-Israeli cooperation on cyber issues, including sharing and advancing technologies related to the prevention of cybercrimes.
Section 9: Statement of policy regarding the Visa Waiver program
It shall be the policy of the United States to include Israel in the list of countries that participate in the visa waiver program under section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187) when Israel satisfies, and as long as Israel continues to satisfy, the requirements for inclusion in such program specified in such section.
Section 10: Status of implementation of section 4 of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall, to the extent practicable and in an appropriate manner, provide an update to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives on current and future efforts undertaken by the President to fulfill the objectives of section 4 of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act (22 U.S.C. 8603).
Section 11: Improved reporting on enhancing Israel’s qualitative military edge and security posture
(a) Biennial assessment reevaluations
Section 201(c) of the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008 (22 U.S.C. 2776 note) is amended by adding at the end the following:(3) Biennial updates
Two years after the date on which each quadrennial report is transmitted to Congress, the President shall—
(A) reevaluate the assessment required under subsection (a); and
(B) inform and consult with the appropriate congressional committees on the results of the reevaluation conducted pursuant to subparagraph (A).
(b) Certification requirements for major defense equipment
Section 36(h) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776(h)) is amended—
(1) by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (3); and
(2) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:(2) Requirements with respect to determination for major defense equipment
A determination under paragraph (1) relating to the sale or export of major defense equipment shall include—
(A) a detailed explanation of Israel’s capacity to address the improved capabilities provided by such sale or export;
(B) a detailed evaluation of—
(i) how such sale or export alters the strategic and tactical balance in the region, including relative capabilities; and
(ii) Israel’s capacity to respond to the improved regional capabilities provided by such sale or export;
(C) an identification of any specific new capacity, capabilities, or training that Israel may require to address the regional or country-specific capabilities provided by such sale or export; and
(D) a description of any additional United States security assurances to Israel made, or requested to be made, in connection with, or as a result of, such sale or export.
Section 12: United States-Israel energy cooperation
Section 917(a) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17337(a)) is amended—
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking renewable and inserting covered;
(2) in paragraph (4)—
(A) by striking possible many and inserting “possible—(A) many
(B) by adding at the end the following: “and(B) significant contributions to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency through the established programs of the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation;
(3) in paragraph (6)—
(A) by striking renewable and inserting covered; and
(B) by striking and at the end;
(4) in paragraph (7)—(5) by adding at the end the following:
(A) by striking renewable and inserting covered; and
(B) by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and(8) United States-Israel energy cooperation and the development of natural resources by Israel are in the strategic interest of the United States;
(9)Israel is a strategic partner of the United States in water technology
(10)the United States can play a role in assisting Israel with regional safety and security issues;(11) the National Science Foundation of the United States, to the extent consistent with the National Science Foundation’s mission, should collaborate with the Israel Science Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation;
(12) the United States and Israel should strive to develop more robust academic cooperation in—
(A) energy innovation technology and engineering;
(B) water science;
(C) technology transfer; and
(D) analysis of emerging geopolitical implications, crises and threats from foreign natural resource and energy acquisitions, and the development of domestic resources as a response;(13) the United States supports the goals of the Alternative Fuels Administration of Israel with respect to expanding the use of alternative fuels;(14) the United States strongly urges open dialogue and continued mechanisms for regular engagement and encourages further cooperation between applicable departments, agencies, ministries, institutions of higher education, and the private sector of the United States and Israel on energy security issues, including—
(A) identifying policy priorities associated with the development of natural resources of Israel;
(B)discussing and sharing best practices to secure cyber energy infrastructure and other energy security matters;
(C )leveraging natural gas to positively impact regional stability;
(D )issues relating to the energy-water nexus, including improving energy efficiency and the overall performance of water technologies through research and development in water desalination, wastewater treatment and reclamation, water treatment in gas and oil production processes, and other water treatment refiners;
(E) technical and environmental management of deep-water exploration and production;
(F) emergency response and coastal protection and restoration;
(G) academic outreach and engagement;
(H) private sector and business development engagement;
(I) regulatory consultations;
(J) leveraging alternative transportation fuels and technologies; and
(K) any other areas determined appropriate by the United States and Israel;
(15)the United States—
(A) acknowledges the achievements and importance of the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation; and
(B) supports continued multiyear funding to ensure the continuity of the programs of the foundations specified in subparagraph (A); and(16) the United States and Israel have a shared interest in addressing immediate, near-term, and long-term energy, energy poverty, energy independence, and environmental challenges facing the United States and Israel, respectively.
Section 917(b) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17337(b)(1)) is amended—
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking renewable energy or energy efficiency and inserting covered energy;
(2) in paragraph (2)—
(A) in subparagraph (F), by striking and at the end;
(B) in subparagraph (G), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and
(C) by adding at the end the following:
(H) natural gas energy, including conventional and unconventional natural gas technologies and other associated technologies, and natural gas projects conducted by or in conjunction with the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation; and
improvement of energy efficiency and the overall performance of water technologies through research and development in water desalination, wastewater treatment and reclamation, and other water treatment refiners, and
(3) in paragraph (3)(A), by striking energy efficiency or renewable and inserting covered.
(c) International partnerships; regional energy cooperation(1)International partnerships
Section 917 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (42 U.S.C. 17337) is amended—
(A)by striking subsection (d);
(B)by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (e);
(C)by inserting after subsection (b) the following:
The Secretary, subject to the availability of appropriations, may enter into cooperative agreements supporting and enhancing dialogue and planning involving international partnerships between the Department, including National Laboratories of the Department, and the Government of Israel and its ministries, offices, and institutions.
The Secretary may not pay more than 50 percent of Federal share of the costs of implementing cooperative agreements entered into pursuant to paragraph (1).
If the Secretary enters into agreements authorized by paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit an annual report to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Science, Space, and technology of the House of Representatives, theCommittee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and theCommittee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives that describes—
(A) actions taken to implement such agreements; and
(B) any projects undertaken pursuant to such agreements.
(d)United States-Israel energy center
The Secretary may establish a joint United States-Israel Energy Center in the United States leveraging the experience, knowledge, and expertise of institutions of higher education and entities in the private sector, among others, in offshore energy development to further dialogue and collaboration to develop more robust academic cooperation in energy innovation technology and engineering, water science, technology transfer, and analysis of emerging geopolitical implications, crises and threats from foreign natural resource and energy acquisitions, and the development of domestic resources as a response; and(2)Constructive regional energy cooperation
(D) in subsection (e), as redesignated, by striking the date that is 7 years after the date of enactment of this Act and inserting September 30, 2024.
The Secretary of State shall continue the ongoing diplomacy efforts of the Secretary of State in—
(A) engaging and supporting the energy security of Israel; and
(B) promoting constructive regional energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.