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September 4, 2016 7:18 pm

Analyst: Israel Must Take Advantage of Chance to Become Key Stop on New International Chinese Trade Route

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A view of Israel's Red Sea port city of Eilat. Photo: Ester Inbar via Wikimedia Commons.

A view of Israel’s Red Sea port city of Eilat. Photo: Ester Inbar via Wikimedia Commons.

Israel has a chance to become an important stop on a new international trade route being established by China, according to an analysis published by a global news magazine on Thursday.

“Israel has become a strategic focal point for China, and if it fails to leverage this, it will miss a unique opportunity to not only upgrade and diversify its economy, but to position itself as a critical outpost on China’s New Silk Road,” Roi Feder wrote in the Diplomatic Courier. “If Israel seizes the current window of opportunity, while being sensitive to America’s regional interests, it may become a critical trading route between East and West.”

The “New Silk Road” Feder referred to is the goal of China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative. As it seeks to expand its economic reach throughout Asia and Europe, China is set to invest in infrastructure projects in dozens of countries.

According to Feder, the OBOR is part of Chinese President’s Xi Jinping’s “doctrine to reinstate China’s 7th Century golden age, when the Silk Road was a critical international commercial route.”

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To realize this vision, China is strengthening its relations with Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.

“The growth in collaboration between China and Israel over the past few years is predominately due to Israel’s status as a Start-Up Nation which can supply China’s technological needs and help it to upgrade many of its industries,” Feder wrote. “Israel is a center of excellence in managing terror threats, an issue that Beijing decision-makers view with concern as they try to mitigate the rise of Islamist groups in China’s Western provinces.”

However, for China, Feder wrote, Israel’s true “potential lies in becoming an overland bridge connecting China’s trade routes from the Far East through Africa up to the Middle East and on to Europe. Even if it does not proclaim it publicly, China sees Israel as a strategic outpost in its regional interests; a small dot on the map, but one which is vital for ensuring an alternative for the trade and energy routes of the world’s second largest superpower.”

China has already been involved in a number of infrastructure projects in Israel in recent years — including the Carmel Tunnels and two private port projects in Ashdod and Haifa — but, Feder wrote, the “jewel in the crown” for the Chinese would be a “land bridge — a connection [between] the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea via rail which would provide a safe alternative route to the Suez Canal, and a dependable commercial center for China’s trading needs. Such a development will turn Israel into an essential part of the global trading ecosystem while boosting its economy.”

Feder concluded, “Israel must recognize the significance of OBOR and the enormous economic and diplomatic opportunities. If leveraged cautiously and with full consideration of America’s interests in the region, Israel…could become a small yet strategically critical outpost on China’s New Silk Road.”

As reported by The Algemeiner, Israel and China announced in May they would open talks on a bilateral free trade agreement.

In 2012, Israel and China signed an agreement to build a rail line that will link Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa with its Red Sea port in Eilat.

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  • Trading is a culture of listening! To listen is culture of peace among men! Israel had difficulties with Obama, China had difficulties with Obama, Germany had difficulties with Obama, Russia had and has difficulties with Obama. Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize, for what? No body knows why!I know why。To manipulate the world masses minds which is visibly unbelievable stupid! Was the reason Mr. Gaddafi was captured with hands up, he had no gun! And yet killed brutally! Is a war crime!Which Hillary Clinton, Obama and NATO are responsible for the war crime! Mr. Gaddafi should be taken to the international court for JUSTICE! Mr. Gaddafi is not guilty! He was mind attacked for many years! The killing of Mr. Gaddafi is the reason for the mass refugee’s move which made the situation worse for Europe; EU which got the Nobel Piss Prize was a visible political planned trap!

  • yalon scheps

    rectification a mon message écrit en anglais pour vous faciliter la tâche …ça n a pas marché comme prévu.
    “Il s’agit de deux amis pas de 2 années.”

  • yalon scheps

    I find this analysis very pertinent.
    for me who lives in geneva, and having experienced in the last few years that although they are only two, friends from israel went to work and live in shanghai for israeli firms.
    I had no explanation until today. thank you it gives opportunities and I already think of how I can join to this stream without hurting usa-Israel relations, and in the same time making business with China or taking an active part in helping to coordinate this project , à new silk road to China is writing also a page (reopening) of Hebrew history and who knows might be a chance to find a new angle to reach peace in this tormented region?
    Thank you Mr. breen-portnoy!

  • stevenl

    Why has the construction of the E-A rail line not yet started?

  • Jonah

    7thcentury golden age, Jewel in the crown, in reference to Israel and China those are terms that touch Gods heart. I wouldn’t be to worried about aligning yourself with americas interest since it appears their interest is in those that want to take you down. But, it could be that God is aligning himself with those that will provide a continuity for his millinial plans it will be interesting to see how this plays out. You can bet if Obama reads this article he will be grinding his teeth in rage tonight. Every time he thinks he has the noose round Israels neck God opens another opportunity for them. He will never understand the power of God until he is surrounded by flames. I have told you all along China is held in high esteem by God they will be around long after Europe and America have met their scriptural demise.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Israel may find China to be a highly lucrative recipient of its know-how and geographical location in the Middle East, and yet it is critical that Israel fully realise that China’s close ties with Iran, in particular, may become a snake in the grass of strategic opportunity.

  • Israel most likely recognizes the significance of a revived Chinese “Silk Road.” The economic benefits with Chinese trade could offset the dependence on American economic and military aid. Israel’s renowned “startup sector” should be the impetus to further diversify Israel’s economic interests, and chart its own course.

  • Howard Kahan

    Iran,China and Russia have a Military alliance. That Silk road will be quite bumpy. Israel could be the big loser in this deal. The above three all back the Syrian regime at the UN. ????????