What's Beijing Doing in Haifa?

(Wall Street Journal) William A. Galston - In 2015,Israel's Transportation Ministry accepted an offer from the Shanghai International Port Group to operate the port of Haifa for 25 years, starting in 2021, and invest $2 billion to expand the port into Israel's largest harbor. Notably, this decision was taken without the formal involvement of either Israel's security cabinet or its National Security Council. In 2018, retired Adm. Gary Roughead, former chief of naval operations, warned Israelis that China's presence in Haifa might force the U.S. Sixth Fleet to abandon the port and dock elsewhere. As he explained in remarks reported in the Jerusalem Post, "The Chinese port operators will be able to monitor closely U.S. ship movements, be aware of maintenance activity, and could have access to equipment moving to and from repair sites and interact freely with our crews over protracted periods." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Israeli officials that if the Chinese deal continued, the U.S. might reduce its intelligence sharing with Israel. Underlying this dispute is the remarkable growth in recent years of economic ties between Israel and China. Chinese investment in Israel's high-tech sector is soaring. Doing business with China is not the same as doing business with a democracy. Does Israel really want to enable China's rise at the cost of weakening its relationship with its greatest ally?

2019-05-29 00:00:00

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