Reps. Schneider and Donovan Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Israel’s Anti-Tunnel Efforts

June 15, 2017
Press Release
Bill authorizes United States military to work with Israel to establish capabilities to detect and neutralize tunnels used by terrorist organizations

Today, U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Dan Donovan (R-NY), both members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced new bipartisan legislation to bolster Israel’s efforts to detect, map, and eliminate tunnels used by terrorist organizations to support and launch terrorist attacks against Israel.

H.R. 2914, The United States-Israel Anti-Tunnel Defense Cooperation Act would authorize $47.5 million for the Department of Defense to carry out research, development, testing, and evaluation of anti-tunnel capabilities on a joint basis with Israel.

Foreign terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Hizballah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have used underground tunnels to launch rockets, cache weapons, and smuggle terrorist trainers, among other actions that threaten the security of Israel. The Israel Defense Forces discovered and destroyed 32 tunnels during the conflict with Hamas in the summer of 2014, and Hamas has spent considerable resources since then to rebuild its tunnel network.

“For too long, tunnel networks have been used by terrorist organizations to threaten the safety and security of our strongest regional ally Israel,” said Schneider. “This bill authorizes cooperation between the United States and Israel to develop anti-tunnel technology and strategies which can then be deployed to both defend Israel, improve the United States’ own border security, and hopefully someday help other allies who face similar threats. I am very pleased to work with my colleague Representative Dan Donovan on this legislation and continue the important tradition of bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

“It’s critical to U.S national security interests – as well as stability in the Middle East – that Israel has the ability to protect and defend itself against terror threats,” said Donovan. “We know that Hamas and other terrorist organizations use tunnels to carry out attacks and smuggle weapons, and they will continue to exploit and build these systems unless stopped. This bill will help equip both our nations with the intelligence and technology needed to better defend Israel, as well as our own borders and bases, against these kinds of threats. I look forward to working with Rep. Schneider, alongside my other colleagues in the House, to quickly pass this important legislation”

Rep. Schneider recently introduced the bipartisan Defending Israel’s QME Act of 2017 to promote greater cooperation between the United States and Israel by requiring the Administration to consult with Israel on any future regional arms sales. This bill comes as the US Congress considers a significant arms sale to Saudi Arabia that could threaten Israel’s qualitative military edge over regional allies.

Full text of the legislation is available here.