Israel on Tuesday awarded a contract to build a new desalination plant to a local company, turning down a bid by a Hong Kong conglomerate at a time of growing U.S. pressure to avoid Chinese investments in key infrastructure.
Israel’s Energy and Water Ministry said it had granted the Sorek 2 desalination plant project to IDE, an Israeli company that has already built several of the country’s saltwater conversion facilities. Outbid for the contract was Hutchison Holdings, a major infrastructure conglomerate from Hong Kong.
The ministry said the new facility was expected to be the largest in the world of its kind and increase the country’s desalination production by 35%. It made no mention of Hutchison or the American pressure campaign.
Israel snubs Beijing to give mega desalination project to local firm days after Pompeo warned about Chinese money – Israel
Washington may celebrate a win in its tug-of-war with Beijing after the Israeli government awarded a huge contract, to build a massive facility for making saltwater drinkable, to a local company rather than to a Chinese bidder.
A government panel selected IDE Technologies to build a large desalination plant about 15 km south of Tel Aviv. The Israeli company’s bid was chosen over that of Hutchison Water, a water treatment subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate. The win comes less than two weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel and voiced concern about Chinese investment in local infrastructure.
The new facility will be built next to the existing Sorek Desalination Plant and is expected to be commissioned in 2023. Dubbed “Sorek B,” it will produce up to 548,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day. Combined with the first plant’s 624,000 cubic meters-per-day capacity, the site would become one of world’s biggest desalination operations.
Israel chose local company IDE technologies to construct the world’s largest desalination plant, the government announced on Tuesday, rather than a Chinese company, thus preventing another undesirable showdown with the Trump administration over Chinese participation in major infrastructure projects.
Among them was Israeli Hutchison Company, an affiliate of the Chinese Hutchison Company based in Hong Kong.The US has asked its allies, including Israel, in recent weeks to sever ties with China – Israel’s third-largest trading partner – in areas with security risks, a US official with knowledge of talks on the matter said last week.
Senate legislation would expand COVID-19 projects with Israel to lessen dependence on China – Israel
The Senate has introduced legislation to enhance partnerships between American and Israeli companies on COVID-19 projects, thus lessening U.S. dependence on China for life-saving medications and treatments.
“You’re a great partner,” Pompeo said in an appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their meeting in Jerusalem. “You share your information, unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide information. And we’ll talk about that country, too.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to arrive in Israel on May 13. Though there are many issues on his agenda, one specific topic is particularly sensitive, since it revolves around tiny Israel’s involvement in the worsening clash between Washington and Beijing.
The facility, known as Sorek 2, will produce 200 million cubic meters of drinking water per year, raising the total water processed in Israeli desalination plants to 786 million cubic meters per year.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israeli real estate developer Azrieli Group (AZRG.TA) said on Sunday it sold its holdings in GES Global Environment Solutions to Generation Capital (GNRS.TA) for 105 million shekels ($30 million).