Congressman Brian Higgins, representative of the 26th Congressional District of New York, has announced the introduction of the United States-Israel Maritime Security Partnership Act of 2016.
In Tuesday’s press release, Higgins’ office said the legislation includes provisions to assist in the protection of Israel’s coastline and natural gas fields from terrorists seeking to target this critical infrastructure.
Higgins, also a member of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security, said: “The discovery of major offshore natural gas resources along the coast of Israel presents both economic opportunities and security challenges for Israel and its allies,”
“Further coordination between the U.S. and Israel will help to lessen dependence on foreign oil and bolster global energy security.”
The Congressman’s office reminded that in 2010 an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was established securing Israel’s right to coastal gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea. The Tamar gas field has, according to the press release, already generated fuel to support more than 50% of Israel’s electricity needs and plans to develop the larger Leviathan field will lessen Israel’s requirements for imported fuel, while strengthening Israel’s position with neighboring countries through export agreements.
They also warn that the development of these gas drilling sites presents new strategic infrastructure targets “for Hamas, Hezbollah or other terrorist organizations seeking to do harm to Israel and its allies.”
The US-Israel Maritime Security Partnership Act authorizes further cooperation between the United States and Israel to protect these sites from threats including the use of the David’s Sling weapon system, designed to intercept missiles, and facilitation of joint Naval exercises as well as collaborative research and development of maritime threat detection capabilities.