Obama signs U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act at the White House
July 27, 2012 3 Comments
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Washington, July 27 – President Obama reaffirmed support for Israel’s security as he signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act today at the White House.
“I hope that, as I sign this bill, once again everybody understands how committed all of us are – Republicans and Democrats – as Americans, to our friends, in making sure that Israel is safe and secure,” Obama said.
This act, which passed Congress with broad bipartisan support on July 17, expands military and intelligence cooperation with Israel.
The president also discussed the July 18 terror attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria that killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian on board.
“The tragic events that we saw in Bulgaria emphasize the degree to which this continues to be a challenge not just for Israel but for the entire world – preventing terrorist attacks and making sure that the people of Israel are not targeted,” he said.
Obama signed the bill using five pens, at his desk, flanked by Sen. Barbara Boxer, sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, Rep. Howard Berman, the House version author, Lee Rosenberg, chairman of the board of AIPAC and Howard Friedman, the former Chair, as well as Richard Stone, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Obama also emphasized his administration’s support for Iron Dome. In the last decade, Israelis in the north and south have suffered bombardments by Iran-backed terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. In response, Israel developed the Iron Dome system in 2007 to defend against short-range rocket and artillery attacks. The system integrates vertically launched interceptor missiles with a mobile control center as well as an advanced radar component.
The president said U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta – scheduled to travel to Israel next week – will further consult and find additional roles where the U.S. and Israel can cooperate in defense of both nations.
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said in a statement, “The government and the people of Israel express profound gratitude to President Barack Obama on his signing of the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act.”