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U.S.-Israel Formal Agreements: Memorandum of Mutual Understanding on Homeland Security

(February 8, 2007)

In February 2007, Israeli Minister of Public Security Avi Dicter and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signed a joint memorandum setting out goals for security collaboration between Israel and the United States. The MOU called for cooperation on counter terrorism; aviation security; information exchange during emergencies; and research, development, experimenting and evaluation of methords for exposing explosives.

Memorandum of Mutual Understanding
between the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America
and the Ministry of Public Security of the State of Israel

The Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America and the Ministry of Public Security (hereinafter referred to as “the Participants”), acting in their respective interest to safeguard the domestic security of the United States of America and the State of Israel, and for the purpose of cooperation in combating, planning for, responding to, and mitigating the effects of terrorism and other serious crimes that threaten the security of their nations, taking note of the Counterterrorism Cooperation Accord between the Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the United States of America, 1996 and the activities already ongoing pursuant to the Department of State/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau for Counter-Terrorism-led Joint Counterterrorism Group, and the Agreement Between the Department of Defense of the United States of America and the Ministry of Defense of the State of Israel Concerning Combating Terrorism Research and Development,  express their intention to cooperate on the basis of reciprocity consistent with the Participants’ competence and in accordance with the national law, treaties and agreements in force of their respective States in the following areas, inter alia:

  • aviation security, to include passenger and cargo screening,
  • education, training and exchange of analytical personnel,
  • research, development, testing and evaluation, as well as standards and test protocol development, to include explosives detection technology and techniques,
  • exchange of information regarding emergency planning, response, recovery and mitigation
  • other homeland security-related activities as determined by the Participants.

The Participants state their intention to exchange information, in accordance with their national laws and policies, about measures to counteract, plan for, respond to and mitigate against terrorist and criminal activity in the aforementioned spheres.  Such information exchange may take place on the basis of a request from one Participant to the other, or spontaneously by either of the Participants if it believes that such information may be of interest to the other Participant. 

The Participants are to take measures to prevent an unauthorized disclosure of information exchanged pursuant to this Memorandum.  This Memorandum does not independently authorize disclosure of classified information.  Any and all exchanges of classified information are conducted in accordance with existing bilateral security protocols.  The Participants should seek the consent of the Participant originating such information before disclosing it to third parties.

For the purposes of information exchange and to ensure the routine function of the cooperation mechanism to be created the Participants should communicate principally through diplomatic channels and designated points of contact in their embassies in Washington and Tel Aviv.

The Participants intend to consult on the potential for cooperative activity consistent with the scope of this Memorandum and the laws and policies of the two Participants.

The Participants intend to meet occasionally in order to discuss and determine the modalities and working mechanisms necessary to facilitate the cooperation between the Participants.

The Participants intend to consult regarding any proposal to augment the cooperative measures set forth in this Memorandum.

This Memorandum does not impose any legal commitments on the Participants.  It does not create, nor is it intended to create any enforceable legal rights or private rights of action, nor does it affect the Participant’s rights and obligations under any other international treaties, agreements, or arrangements, nor under each Participant’s national laws, regulations and practices.  This Memorandum is not intended to displace or supersede any existing channels of communication or cooperative endeavors between the Participants.

Sources: Ministry of Public Security, Jerusalem Post