At an Israeli air force base not far from Tel Aviv, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will supervise construction of a $100 million five-floor underground facility for the Israel Defense Forces termed “Site 911.”
No one in the press, including The Washington Post’s national security reporter, seems to know its precise purpose.
According to construction plans, “the facility is to have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from nonionizing radiation and [of course] very tight security,” the Post’s Walter Pincus writes.
Site 911 will be the latest in a long string of construction projects the U.S. has undertaken for the Israeli military, including underground hangars for fighter bombers, facilities for the handling and storage of nuclear weapons, training bases, and command and intelligence centers. At roughly 41,000 square feet per each of its first three floors, the new site appears to be one of the Corps’ largest projects.
No one appears able to say exactly what will happen on those floors though. In an article in the Post, Pincus spent three paragraphs describing how the complex will be built according to Jewish law. Beyond that, he couldn’t get a straight answer from the Pentagon.
Walter Pincus at The Washington Post:
What’s the purpose of Site 911? I asked the Pentagon on Tuesday, and the Corps on Wednesday said that only an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman could provide an answer.
This may be a trend-starter. The Corps is also seeking a contractor for another secret construction project in Israel in the $100 million range to be awarded next summer. This one will involve “a complex facility with site development challenges” requiring services that include “electrical, communication, mechanical/HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] and plumbing.” The U.S. contractor must have a U.S. secret or equivalent Israeli security clearance for the project, which is expected to take almost 21 / 2 years to complete. Truthdig.org
Israel receives about $3 billion from the U.S. in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America’s foreign aid budget. ifamericansknew.org
President Obama said in July that the United States was giving $70 million more in military aid to Israel to help Israel speed up production of a missile-defense system known as Iron Dome.
Contrary to ordinary U.S. policy, Israel has been and continues to be allowed to use approximately 25% of this military aid to purchase equipment from Israeli manufacturers. According to CRS, “no other recipient of U.S. military assistance has been granted this benefit.” ifamericansknew.org
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbyists guarantee billions of dollars in military aid for Israel each year. AlterNet
Israeli forces launched a weeklong deadly airstrike on the northern Gaza Strip in November. The strike occurred shortly after the military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said they had fired a homemade missile into Tel Aviv.
Over 160 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed and about 1,200 others were injured in the Israeli attacks on Gaza that were carried out during the eight-day period of November 14-21.