Ron Paul 2012
Republican presidential candidate opposed the US-Israel Cooperation Bill at the House of Representatives earlier this month (Reuters) REUTERS

A US Senate Committee is poised to discuss a bill that will give Israel one of the largest aid package ever received.

The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which is going under scrutiny at the Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to expand military links between the two countries and provide Israel with aircraft and special munitions.

Reports also state that the bill will allow Israel to have access to pictures from US spy satellites and extend US loan guarantees to Israel until 2015. In return, Israel will open Israeli air space for US Force exercise.

Special munitions could include bunker-busting bombs. Israel has sought an air-refuelling capacity as a means to cover the distance to Iran in the case of a strike.

"This bill has received the blessing of the Obama administration, which sees it as a conciliatory gesture towards Israel in advance of the agreement with Iran, about which Israel has already begun to express reservations," a source told Globes Online, a website covering Israel business news.

It represents a significant addition to the $1 billion for the missile defence system Israel is developing with the US, the $3.1 billion in regular annual military aid and $70 million for procurement of Iron Dome rocket interception batteries.

A similar bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month, despite the opposition of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who called it "another piece of one-sided and counter-productive foreign policy legislation".

"This bill will not help the United States, it will not help Israel, and it will not help the Middle East," he addressed the House. "It will implicitly authorize much more US interventionism in the region at a time when we cannot afford the foreign commitments we already have. It more likely will lead to war against Syria, Iran, or both."

According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, however, who sponsored the bill, the Cooperation Act "reaffirms Israel's right to defend itself against threats and puts Congress on the record about America's longstanding commitment to the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship.

House Minority representative Steny Hoyer said the legislation was vital to increasing cooperation between the two countries, so they "can further deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability and work together to combat terrorism that threatens both of our countries."