US Congress in the House chamber at the Capitol (AFP File Photo / Brendan Smialowski)
US Congress in the House chamber at the Capitol
(AFP File Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

Washington, 14 Safar 1436/7 December 2014 (MINA) – The US Congress unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday night that classifies Israel as a major strategic partner of the United States and enhances defence ties between the two countries.

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the bill after the Senate passed it in September, promoting relations between the two countries in the fields of defence and security, energy, research and development, business, agriculture and water management and education and wealth.

The new bill increases US weapons stockpiles held in Israel by nine times from $200 million to $1.8 billion, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The weapons are intended to be used by the US forces deployed in the Middle East, but the Israeli army can use them in case of emergency, provided that Israel reimburses Washington.

In the bill, Congress on Israel to share systematic and specific information on military developments in the countries surrounding it; in addition to military cooperation, Congress requires the government to add Israel to the list of countries whose citizens do not need to obtain a visa to travel to the United States for tourism.

In the summer of 2014, Congress increased US financial assistance to Israel’s missile defence system, known as the Iron Dome, by half from $235 million in 2014 to $351 million in 2015.(T/R04/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)