Israel opened a brand new terminal run by a Chinese language agency on the port of Haifa on Thursday, in a transfer anticipated to spice up Israel’s economic system and open new alternatives for commerce with Gulf international locations.
The inauguration comes as Israel seeks to extend the circulate of products into its ports and enhance competitors by decreasing costs. Israel depends on its ports — chief amongst them Haifa — for some 90% of the nation’s items.
The 5.5 billion Israeli shekel ($1.7 billion) terminal is to be managed by China’s state-owned Shanghai Worldwide Port Group (SIPG).
The 25-year administration settlement raised safety considerations in Washington. The US Navy steadily makes stops at Haifa, whereas the Israeli navy additionally maintains its largest base adjoining to the port.
CIA Director Invoice Burns raised considerations over Chinese language funding in Israel throughout a gathering with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Israel final month, Axios reported.
Chinese language infrastructure funding in Israel developed into an more and more uncomfortable topic between the 2 allies through the Donald Trump administration.
The Trump administration pushed Israeli counterparts to keep away from additional encroachment by Chinese language firms, significantly in telecommunications, and warned that deeper Chinese language involvement may damage US-Israel safety ties.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s authorities continued to develop infrastructure partnerships whereas providing assurances on limits of the attain of Chinese language corporations.
Burns’ dialogue with Bennett final month marked the highest-level talks between the 2 new governments on the topic to this point.
In February, Haaretz reported that Israeli officers had final 12 months rejected a US request to examine the port for Chinese language surveillance materials.
A US Navy spokesperson advised Al-Monitor on the time that there was no change to routine navy operations with Israel. “Our partnership with Israel stays steadfast,” Cmdr. Kyle Raines, of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, wrote by way of e-mail.
That response got here after the Navy warned it might have to alter its operations at Haifa resulting from potential safety dangers.
Israel’s port of Ashdod can also be present process main building beneath the course of state-owned China Harbor Engineering Firm. Will probably be managed by the Switzerland-based Terminal Funding Restricted.