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Israel, US close to signing deal leaving China out of 5G infrastructure

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Israel, US close to signing deal on leaving China out of 5G infrastructure

Israel opened the tender to build its 5G network on August 4, the day before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the expansion of the Clean Network initiative.

By Lahov Harkov, Jerusalem Post, August 14, 2020:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a six-hour visit to Israel on May 13

Israel and the US are close to signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would mean Israel commits to not using Chinese equipment in building its 5G networks, a US government source said on Thursday night.
Israel is close to joining the US State Department’s “Clean Network,” announced earlier this month, which seeks to protect national assets and individual privacy “from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party,” the State Department’s website reads.

The network is made up of countries that meet the State Department’s Digital Trust Standards on matters of data privacy, security and human rights. The standards are based in part on the 2019 Prague Proposals drawn up by representatives of over 30 countries, as well as the EU and NATO for what countries must take into consideration when evaluating vendors for 5G networks, which the new generation of Internet services. The Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia recently signed Clean Network MOUs with the US.

“We’re optimistic that Israel will take a clean approach to 5G and choose to only allow trusted vendors in its 5G networks,” the US source said. “Being a clean country benefits Israel’s national security, its citizens’ privacy, and its businesses’ hard-earned intellectual property. We’re close to an understanding on this issue.”

Israel opened the tender to build its 5G network on August 4, the day before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the expansion of the Clean Network initiative.

In order for Israel to be considered a “clean” country, the Communications Ministry would have to choose companies that are not Chinese to build the network and not use any components from China.

Last month, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said: “We see eye-to-eye with the Americans on our shared values and interests. We are in direct discussions with representatives of the American government about all of our shared interests, including communications infrastructure.

In May, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman chose Hendel as the first minister with whom he held a meeting in the new government. The unusual choice of a non-senior minister from the Derech Eretz faction, which only has two seats, emphasizing how the US has prioritized discouraging allies from using Chinese companies to build 5G networks.
The US has urged Israel and other allies against allowing Chinese companies to participate in other major infrastructure projects, as well, citing concerns for national security and privacy.

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