Campaign Updates

Israel position paper

Posted on August 8th, 2013

THE U.S. – ISRAEL RELATIONSHIP

The Alabama-Israel relationship has flourished in recent years. Israel is now the top export market for the State of Alabama in the Middle East, totaling some $242 million worth of exports in 2012 alone.

Nationally, it is a critical national security priority that the U.S.-Israel relationship remains a cornerstone of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Our relationship is founded not only on shared interests, but also on shared principles: democratic self-government, freedom of speech and religion, the rule of law and free markets.

 

A NUCLEAR IRAN

With consistent messages from Iranian leadership calling for the destruction of Israel and the United States, the world must take their intent seriously. We must prevent a nuclear-capable Iran at all costs. Neglecting to do so would threaten all Americans and Israelis in the region, creating a dangerous regional arms race and risk the transfer of nuclear weapons to Iran’s terrorist surrogates.

There are several ways in which Congress can help stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. First, Congress must hold the Obama administration’s feet to the fire and ensure that the appropriate agencies properly enforce tough existing sanctions.

Second, new sanctions legislation being considered by the 113th Congress should target Iran’s foreign currency reserves, oil exports, human rights violators, blacklisting of strategic sectors like construction and engineering, and the full designation of the Central Bank of Iran.

Third, it is vital that Congress makes clear that the military option remains on the table.

The Iranian regime must fully suspend and dismantle their nuclear program before any sanctions relief is considered by the United States and the international community.

 

DEFENSE COOPERATION

U.S.-Israel defense cooperation is the cornerstone of the lasting relationship between our two nations. As a member of Congress, I will support continued military assistance to Israel and ensure that the 10-year, $30 billion agreement signed in 2007 between our two nations is upheld. It is important to note that 75% of these funds are spent in the United States, further strengthening the strategic ties which bond our two great nations. It is of vital importance that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge in a region that has been inhospitable to its very existence.

U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation is an important component of our strategic relationship, and Alabama is one of the missile defense hubs of the United States, making missile defense cooperation between our two nations a decidedly local issue. I will support the ongoing cooperation of missile defense via programs such as Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome, which was highly successful in defending Israel during the recent rocket attacks by Hamas.

The United States has benefited from technologies developed by Israel, like blood clotting bandages, Bradley reactive armor tiles which have saved countless lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, improvised explosive device (IED) detection systems, and a variety of other medical and military advancements. The result of our unbreakable bond is that countless soldiers and civilians have been saved due to cooperative agreements between our two countries.

Shared information between our intelligence communities also greatly contributes to the safety of United States citizens at home and abroad. The State of Israel is a daily combatant on the front lines of the fight against terrorism.
PEACE PROCESS

Israel has the right to defend herself from her neighbors and from terrorist organizations. Israel also has the right for a peaceful co-existence with its Arab neighbors as a secure and prosperous homeland of the Jewish people. While Israel has always been ready for peace, it has rarely had a partner willing to make the same commitment. Attempts to impose a peace settlement on Israel by the United States or the international actors will only produce untenable situations which should be avoided.

From David Ben-Gurion’s willingness to accept the UN partition plan in 1947 to Prime Minister Olmert’s rejected offer in 2008 and to the most recent overtures by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel has been committed to finding a secure and lasting peace with its neighbors. Peace will only come when prospective partners are as willing and responsible as their Israeli counterparts.

 

REGIONAL STABILITY IMPLICATIONS AFTER THE ARAB SPRING

Israel lives in a very rough-and-tumble neighborhood. With Hezbollah and an ongoing civil war in Syria to the North, an uncertain future in Egypt to the South, and in Jordan to the East, Israel’s regional security situation is less certain than it has been in decades. Moreover, countries such as Turkey and Qatar continue to take steps which make peace less likely by being the main financial backers of the terrorist group Hamas.

The continuation of the so-called “Arab Spring” throughout the region also prompts concern for the stability of those individual governments and regarding the civility of those assuming power towards the State of Israel. The United States should regularly evaluate the security situation in the region and take appropriate actions to ensure the qualitative military edge of Israel.

 

JERUSALEM

Jerusalem is, and must always remain, the undivided Capital of the State of Israel. In keeping with legislation passed more than 15 years ago, the United States Embassy should relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As a country which legislatively recognizes Jerusalem as the official Capital, we should also accept Jerusalem as the proper location for legal documents originating from the State of Israel.