Haifa, Israel (PortSEurope) July 6, 2019 – Israel Electric Corp (IEC) said this week that it plans to sell the Alon Tavor power plant to a consortium of Chinese Harbor, Rapac Communication and Infrastructure Ltd unit Rapac Energy, and Mivtach Shamir Holdings Ltd.
China Harbour Engineering is a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co, providing infrastructure construction, including marine engineering, road and bridge, railways, airports and plant construction.
Whilst China is not a controlling partner in the consortium, its presence is likely to again raise concerns about the growing Chinese investments in Israel’s infrastructure. Such a move would be part of recent activities by the Chinese government to acquire transport and other infrastructure facilities along the New Silk Road – including acquiring long-term port concessions, such as Piraeus port in Greece.
In March 2015 a deal was signed giving China’s Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) a 25-year control over the container terminal of the port of Haifa, Israel’s biggest and busiest port. It is also the base of its main naval fleets. Israeli submarines, often reported to be capable of launching nuclear missiles, dock there.
As Haifa has long been a docking point for the US Sixth Fleet, the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has warned Israel that Washington “has serious security concerns with respect to the leasing arrangements,” and urges the Israeli government “to consider the security implications of foreign investment in Israel.”
The Israeli government’s supposed reluctance to perform security vetting on Chinese investments has already angered the White House, as has Tel Aviv’s awarding of several key infrastructure contracts to Chinese companies. These include the $1 billion private port at Ashdod awarded to China Harbour Engineering Company, and a $4.1 billion contract for light rail transit in the Israeli capital, for which four state-owned Chinese firms are currently bidding.
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