The US is pressuring Israel to prevent Chinese companies from entering Israeli facilities.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton addressed this issue during his visit to Israel in January, and warned against the entry of Chinese technology companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, to the Israeli market, Haaretz reported yesterday.

The US warnings come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to boost trade ties with China, but at the same time is facing US pressure. The Marker newspaper reported this week that the Cabinet abstained from setting up a special committee to monitor China’s technology and investment, despite US pressures. The report added that Israel is now seeking an approach that appeases America.

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Haaretz revealed that a new deal regarding the Israeli national infrastructure is being discussed, including the establishment of a seawater desalination facility, the largest of its kind in the world.

Hong Kong-based Chinese company Hutchison has submitted a proposal to set up the facility. This company is competing with Israeli and joint Israeli-Spanish companies. The newspaper stated that Head of Security Department at the Israel Ministry of Defence, Nir Ben Moshe, recently expressed what has been described as a “firm reservation” against the selection of Hutchison to implement the desalination facility’s construction project.

The main reason behind the reservations regarding choosing the Chinese company is the sites proximity to security facilities. The desalination plant will be housed near an air base and only a few kilometres away from a nuclear power plant.