Barbara Boxer moves to beef up U.S.-Israel ties

As strife continues in the Gaza Strip, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer has introduced a beefed up version of her bill to strengthen U.S. economic and security ties with Israel.

Barbara BoxerBoxer, D-Calif., and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., on Tuesday introduced S.2673, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, an updated version of a bill they first offered in March 2013. It’s co-sponsored by 77 Senators.

The bill would, among other things, spend $200 million more (to a new total of $1.8 billion) to stockpile U.S. weapons in Israel intended for use by U.S. forces in a crisis, but available to Israeli forces in emergencies.

It also 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 cooperate with Israel in policy areas including energy, water, homeland security, and alternative fuel technologies; and requires the president to study the feasibility of expanding U.S.-Israel cooperation on cyber security.

The bill 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. And it requires the administration to provide more frequent and more detailed assessments on the status of Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors.

“While we work toward a just peace in the Middle East and an end to the tragedy of war, it is critical that we reaffirm our enduring commitment to Israel’s security and the historic ties between our two nations,” Boxer said in a news release.“This legislation sends a clear message that America’s bond with Israel remains unbreakable, and I am proud that it has the support of more than three-quarters of the Senate.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • hazmaq

    Wow, what barbarities lie under the skin of Barbara. Aren’t the napalm like child maiming cluster bombs Israel loves to use enough for her?? How about those dart filled flechette bombs. Thoughts of those don’t phase her either? Not even the white phosphorous gas that burns anyone for miles ahead of advancing Israelis??
    Americas bond is not unbreakable.. even the Pentagon spoke out against their brutality. Finally.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Yes, we need friendly relations with Hamas. All those rockets are just harmless, boyhood pranks.

  • JohnW

    Population density of Gaza is about the same as the City of San Francisco. It is impossible to engage in war in those circumstances without loss of civilian lives and massive destruction. Hamas is committed to the elimination of Israel, and Israel is not about to respond to that with a “fair fight.”

    Absent Hamas, the international community could implement a “Marshall Plan” for the Gaza Strip and turn the lives of the people there from abject misery into prosperity and peace. No easy answers, given that Hamas is not about to cease and desist.

    I’ve been critical of the right-wing government in Israel and the settlements, but what are they supposed to do when it comes to Hamas — just “duck and cover?”

  • hazmaq

    Seriously, why so many just repeat what they hear over and over without facts amazes me. And how all so easily ignore in Gaza the use of horrific weapons we fought against in WWII to fight the pot hole making rockets that took only 3 civilians in almost a month of fighting is too pathetic to respond to.
    And look at your own population statistics. Were Hamas the real threat you think they are, surely with the combined might of all their ‘terrorist’ friends they could have done better than fire wobbly rockets for the last two decades – rockets so poorly made the reporters can see them coming and so weak they barely break the concrete..
    Israels is seen as a brutal despotic regime now by many. Good because they’ve worked hard to earn it.