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US Official Warns Israel Against Developing Its ‘Strange’ Ties With China

US Official Warns Israel Against Developing Its ‘Strange’ Ties With China

Saturday, 10 November, 2018 - 09:45
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands ahead of their talks in Beijing, China March 21, 2017. (Reuters)
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Prominent American officials have warned the Israeli government that its growing economic and strategic ties with China could lead to a crisis with the United States.

According to an official in Tel Aviv, one of these figures said that the eruption of the crisis is only a matter of time, especially given the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

The American official informed his Israeli acquaintances that President Donald Trump is “placing as a priority the developments in east Asia.”

“If one thing could spark Trump’s anger against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it is his strange ties with China,” he added.

Sources in Tel Aviv revealed that this was the second such warning issued by Washington against Israel over China relations.

Two months ago, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper published similar warnings.

At the time, retired American generals questioned before their Israeli counterparts Tel Aviv’s decision to task Chinese companies with constructing major projects in the country, including the Haifa civilian port.

One of the generals warned that the US Navy may even boycott the port over China’s role.

Based on conversations with ministers and other top officials, it now turns out that the Israelis were amazed at the intensity of their American counterparts’ ire on the matter.

“They blew up at us,” said one of the Israelis who attended the meetings, reported Haaretz.

The Americans asked Israel for guarantees that China would not be able to take advantage of projects in Israel to improve its strategic standing and its intelligence capabilities. They remained unconvinced that Israel’s answers were good enough – and said if Israel could not provide the guarantees they wanted, that would be grounds to have Israel reconsider its project contracts with China.

In one such exchange, Americans told their Israeli counterparts that the United States could not be friends with a country for which China was building ports. They mentioned another country, not Israel, but Tel Aviv got the hint, said Haaretz.

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