© Anton Kudelin haifa27204262
© Anton Kudelin

Fascinating analysis of the strategic conundrum currently facing Israeli policymakers, as well as their counterparts in Washington. While the US has long been the staunchest of Israel’s allies, the decision to allow Chinese state-run firms to construct new terminals in Ashdod and Haifa – and in the case of the latter, to be awarded a 25-year operating contract – could have significant geopolitical ramifications. The projects may fall under China’s Belt & Road initiative, but US intelligence chiefs are understandably worried and may look to force a volte-face, according to one Israeli policy expert. “Israel will not be able to deal with the security risks – not just in terms of spying, but also on other matters, such as the Chinese desire to bring ships to the port that could be on their way to train or assist Syrian forces or Hezbollah. Washington will, in all likelihood, force us to withdraw from the deal, and Israel will pay a higher price to the Chinese for every passing day through the rising exit fines and through the harm that would come to relations with China.”

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