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The New Arab Staff

Israeli company signs unapproved deal with Chinese state-owned business regarding 'sensitive project'

An Israeli Air Force Blackhawk helicopter [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2021

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Israel requires businesses to refer any deals that might affect vital infrastructure. It seems one company might not have got that memo.
An Israeli corporation working on a “sensitive” civil aviation project signed an unapproved memorandum of understanding with a Chinese state-owned business, Haaretz reports.

The paper says that the deal directly concerns the aviation project, and that Ministry of Defence insiders claim they were not consulted.

The Israeli company, Airpark, was hired two years ago to construct a manufacturing plant for civilian aircraft close to an Israeli Air Force base.

The project is even allowed to access to assistance from the IAF.

Comac, the Chinese corporation in question, was subject to an investment ban by the Trump administration in January over claims it has ties to China’s armed forces.

This caused one security source to raise the possibility of damage to the US-Israel relationship.

The US is Tel-Aviv’s major political and military backer. 

Just last month, Israel agreed to buy $9 billion worth of US warplanes and other equipment.

By signing the agreement with Comac in September 2019, Airpark’s parent company, AES Aviation, allowed the Chinese firm to pay for access to the IAF, including concerning its operational procedures.

Defence sources expressed their astonishment at the fact that the agreement had apparently not been referred to the Ministry, as is required.The Israeli Ministry of Defence told Haaretz it would examine the situation.

This comes as Amos Yadlin, the ex-military intelligence leader, revealed his worry about the recently announced Iran-China strategic partnership.

He said that the agreement will include the sharing of intelligence and military-related research, in addition to joint military exercises.

Read more: Israel military 'preparing plans' against Iran as US considers revisiting nuclear accord

Yadlin added that Tehran requires “political protection in which China would stop the United States from pressuring it.”

“The Chinese understand the Biden administration is not the Trump administration and can be much more aggressive,” he suggested.

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