Israel denied contract to a Chinese company amid US pressure

Jerusalem / Washington: The political conflict between the US and China is increasing by the day. Thus, the US has started to pressure its allies to quit cooperating with China. Against this background, information has surfaced that Israel has denied contract to a Chinese company. 

Israel is constructing the world’s largest desalination plant in Sorek. Moreover, three companies had submitted tender for this $1.5 billion project. This includes Hong Kong’s Hutchison Water along with another Israeli company. Earlier, it was indicated that this contract was given to a Chinese company. However, on Tuesday, the Israeli government declared this project with the Israeli company, IDE Technology. It is being said that the US pressure is responsible for this switch.

Two weeks ago, US Foreign Minister, Mike Pompeo visited Israel. During the visit, Pompeo indicated of warning Israel regarding China. In one of his interviews, Pompeo expressed his stance on the Israel-China co-operation. Pompeo warned Israel by saying that the US does not want the Chinese Communist Party to control Israel’s fundamental facilities and communication system as it can pose a threat to the Israeli citizens.

Furthermore, the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, met some senior Israeli officials to discuss the matter of China-Israel co-operation. At the time, Friedman warned them of the threat to Israel due to the 5G and other such technology. Earlier, the US Trump administration had clarified its concern about Israel’s desalination plant project. 

Israel is constructing the desalination plant in Sorek. Besides, the Palmachim airbase and the Sorek Nuclear Centre are situated near to this plant. As the Chinese agencies can pose a threat of espionage and ravaging the property, the US government warned Israel that China’s involvement in the project could be dangerous.

China is the third biggest trader in Israel, and the trade between the two nations is worth more than $10 billion. The Chinese company has invested more than $11 billion. Moreover, the two countries also made bilateral deals relating to the project.

Last year, despite US’ objection, Israel had handed over the project of constructing the Haifa port to a Chinese company. The US had expressed its disfavour by saying that China’s involvement in the construction of that port can be threatening for US ships that are anchored there. But, due to constant pressure by the US, Israel finally agreed to create an independent system to keep a check on the Chinese involvement.

Furthermore, after US Foreign Minister Pompeo’s visit, China criticised the US and also said that Israel would certainly decide what’s best in the interest. Thus, by declaring the decision about Sorek’s desalination plant, Israel has rightly indicated about its interests to China.

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