American lawmakers in Congress have passed a bill to deepen Washington’s bonds with Tel Aviv, making Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States.
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously approved the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which reflects “the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States,” and declares Washington’s “unwavering support” for Israel.
The legislation passed the Senate unanimously in September and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The measure promotes closer ties in military, security, energy, business, agriculture, water management, research and academics.
The bill would also increase the value of US weaponry kept in Israel by $200 million to a total of $1.8 billion, allowing Tel Aviv to use them in the event of an emergency.
The legislation also grants Israelis visa-free travel rights to the US.
The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC as well as many Jewish and pro-Israel lawmakers in Congress applied great influence over the passage of the bill.
In November, the Department of Defense announced plans to arm Israel with 3,000 smart bombs as part of Washington’s military aid to Tel Aviv.
The United States provides Israel with some $8.5 million in military aid per day, adding up to over $3 billion annually.
The US military aid to Israel has prompted several demonstrations across the country against such deals.
American protesters argue that the US taxpayer money is used for more Israeli aggression against Palestinians.