China loses bid to run Israel’s biggest desalination plant after US warning

The Israeli IDE Technologies on Monday won the bidding against its Hong Kong rival Hutchison Holdings for the management of Israel’s biggest desalination plant, Shoresh 2, to go up near the Palmachim air base. Arguably the largest project of its kind in the world, the plant is planned to produce over 200 million cubic meters of water per day and increase Israel’s desalination capacity by about 35%. The financing for the Chinese bid was to come from a consortium of banks including Bank Leumi, the German KfW and the European Investment Bank.

The Trump administration has long frowned on Chinese investments in Israel and more recently accused Beijing of covering up the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan and pirating world infrastructure.

During his visit to Israel two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned “We don’t want the Chinese Communist party to have access to Israeli infrastructure and its communications system or anything that places Israelis in danger or jeopardizes US ability to work with Israel on important joint projects.”
The Israeli Treasury’s tenders committee decided that the IDE bid for the desalinated product offered it at a lower cost than the Chinese offer.

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