President Obama has signed into law the 2014 U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, after unanimous passage in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The law declares Israel’s status as a “major strategic partner” of the U.S. as well as Washington’s “unwavering support” for Israel as a Jewish state.
The legislation ups U.S. weapons stockpile in Israel by some $200 million in value, to a total of $1.8 billion, to facilitate potential military operations in the Middle East.
It also allows Israel access to the weapons in the event of an emergency, as it did last summer during the war with Hamas.
The new law will also require the Obama administration to move toward allowing Israel to be included in the top-tier category for license-free exports of certain U.S. technologies and products.
“This bipartisan piece of legislation reflects the importance placed by my Administration on strengthening and deepening U.S.-Israel bilateral cooperation and ties,” Obama said in a statement.
“It reinforces critical defense and security programs, which have reached an unprecedented level under my Administration. It also lays the groundwork for increased trade and cooperation across a range of cutting-edge fields, including energy, water, agriculture and technology.”
Obama took a swipe at Prime Minister Netanyahu, classifying him as a critic of his administration’s Iran policy.
“Critics of our policy, like the Netanyahu government in Israel, acknowledge” that the Joint Plan of Action — an interim deal agreed upon by Iran and world powers last year — has paused Iran’s progress towards a nuclear weapons capability, the president said.