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Engel Remarks on Encouraging a New U.S.-Israel M.O.U.

ENGEL REMARKS ENCOURAGING A NEW U.S.-ISRAEL M.O.U.

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WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks in the House of Representatives supporting a resolution calling for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new, robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance to Israel between the United States Government and the Government of Israel (H.Res. 729):

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution and I yield myself as much time as I might consume.

“Mr. Speaker, I’m proud to cosponsor this resolution, which calls for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new, robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance to Israel.  The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable.  We share common values and goals, including democracy, rule of law, minority rights and basic human freedoms.

“In 2008, the George W. Bush Administration negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel that guaranteed $3.1 billion in annual security assistance.  Since then, the Obama Administration has delivered on this commitment, and has provided additional funds for missile defense, including the 2014 emergency supplement for Iron Dome, which we passed in this House. 

“Since that agreement, Israel has faced some of the most urgent threats in history: rockets and tunnels from Gaza and Lebanon, nuclear threats from Syria and Iran, and the spread of ISIS throughout the region.  And the United States has been there, by Israel’s side, throughout this dangerous time.

“These threats are only becoming more complex.  ISIS has grown in the Sinai. Israel’s neighbors are facing new burdens from refugees, leading to instability. And Iran’s behavior in the region has, unfortunately, become even more dangerous.

“So yesterday’s insurance policy has become today’s lifeline.  As Israel confronts new threats, the United States must step up to defend our ally.  Part of this will be through a new, negotiated MOU, or Memorandum of Understanding, to reflect the changing times and evolving threats in the Middle East. 

“Israel will need its American partner, but make no mistake: the United States needs Israel as well.  This relationship isn’t a one-way street.  Our security cooperation and intelligence sharing with Israel has never been closer.  Israel helps develop new technology that the United States can use in our own security efforts.  And the military hardware we’re providing to help Israel defend itself will be spent here in the United States, saving or creating thousands of American jobs. 

“This resolution—and its robust support here in the House, in both parties—demonstrate the true nature of the relationship between the United States and Israel.  The support is bipartisan. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have a monopoly on support for Israel. Democrats and Republicans stand together, united with Israel.  The American people stand with Israel.

“The next MOU will be next chapter in this friendship.  It shows that no matter who the next President will be, Israel has America’s promise of support.  As Israel faces uncertainties through its region, at least it can count on American support.  And Congress should work to make that happen.

“Israel has never asked for American troops, or soldiers, or for anyone to defend them, except themselves. And we ought to help them, continue to help them do that.

“I ask all my members—all members—support this resolution, and I reserve the balance of my time.”