Israel gives China the keys to their ports
Material posted: Publication date: 16-09-2018
Military commentator for the newspaper Haaretz, Amos Harel published an article about the recent conference devoted to Israeli policy in the sphere of security in the Mediterranean. The conference was attended by the former commander of the Israeli Navy Brigadier General Shaul Horev, and several senior American military and intelligence influential Hudson Institute, including veterans of the Pentagon and the U.S. Navy.

Horev is currently head of the Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy at the University of Haifa.

Horev said that the focus of discussion was the role of Chinese investment in Mediterranean ports, specifically, in Israel. Telling that in the near future the Chinese company will start operating the port of Haifa Horev pointed to the fact that Israel needs to create a mechanism guaranteeing the protection of its security.

Horev said, “When China buys ports, he does so under the pretext of creating a trade route from the Indian ocean through the Suez canal to Europe. This is true, for example, in relation to the port of Pirus, Greece. How does this affect the future of security? We do not treat this seriously enough. One senior American figure raised at the conference the question about whether Sixth Fleet to use Haifa as a base. This question will be removed from the agenda.”

Comments from some Americans on the transfer of the port of Haifa to the Chinese, in fact, was much more dramatic. They said that Israel “has gone crazy” passing the keys from Haifa to the Chinese. With the time in Haifa will be the Chinese, the Israeli Navy will no longer be able to rely on close cooperation with the Sixth Fleet.

Agreement on the modernization and expansion of the port of Haifa was signed with the Chinese company SIPG three and a half years ago. The project will be put into effect in 2021 and then the Chinese will receive the right to operate the port for a period of 25 years. Another Chinese firm won the tender for the construction of a new port in Ashdod.

Haaretz claims that these decisions were adopted by the Ministry of transport and the ports authority - without the participation of the National Security Council. And the problem is not just what the consequences entail these projects in relations with the United States amid rising tensions between China and the United States.

Civil the port in Haifa is adjacent to the exit from the naval base where, among other things, are based on Israeli submarines with a “weapon of retaliation” on Board. Also as in the case of Chinese involvement in other giant infrastructure projects - tunnels of mount Carmel and light rail in tel Aviv, nobody thought about the political and strategic consequences of such steps. China has a huge influence on vital Israeli infrastructure, and the possibility of a closer study of the Israeli military capabilities. This potentially creates for Beijing powerful leverage over Israel - in the case that the Chinese have developed an interest in the region.

China aggressively builds ports across the Middle East and North Africa. He is the main investor and operator of ports around the coast of the red sea - in Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. It strictly competes in the horn of Africa with the United Arab Emirates. One of the consequences of this competition was the reconciliation of Eritrea and Ethiopia (More on this can be read in the material "Ethiopian tangle and struggle for the ports of the red sea"). These events directly affect Israel, but the question of how they can affect Israel remains open.

From the point of view of the Chinese, Israel is nothing more than a speck on the great map of the world. China is implementing a long-term strategy of “one belt, one road”, which aims to expand the economic influence of Beijing and enhance its global status. China is not necessarily hostile towards Israel, but his interests were complicated and confusing - and it is impossible to predict what the partner would be preferable and what policy priority to one or another point in time. An example is the Chinese cooperation with Iran. China is a major buyer of Iranian oil - and thus, in an international boycott ensures the survival of the ayatollahs ' regime, which stated goal is the destruction of Israel.


Tags: assessment , China , Israel