CIA Director William Burns has warned Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of the dangers of Chinese investments in Israel, particularly in the IT sector and major infrastructure projects, American Axios news website revealed yesterday.
During Trump’s administration, the US warned that further Chinese involvement in big infrastructure projects, like the new port in Haifa, could damage the US-Israel security relationship, but, according to Axios, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government prioritised going ahead with the projects.
Current Israeli Prime Minister Bennett told Burns that Israel understands the American concerns, Axios reported.
A senior Israel official told Axios that Israel “started a dialogue with the Biden administration on China.”
“The US asked about specific projects like the Chinese involvement in the Tel Aviv metro. We told the Americans we welcome US infrastructure companies to work on big projects in Israel but they don’t apply to the tenders.”
Meanwhile, the US State Department’s Mira Resnick was reported saying: “We know our partners and allies in the Middle East have trade relations with China and that’s OK, … but we made it clear that there is a certain kind of cooperation with China we cannot live with.”
Israel is expected to hold more talks with the US on the issue in the coming months.