U.S. overseeing mysterious construction project in Israel

By Walter Pincus, Washington Post

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex, oddly named “Site 911,” at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv.

Expected to take more than two years to build, at a cost of up to $100 million, the facility is to have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from nonionizing radiation and very tight security. Clearances will be required for all construction workers, guards will be at the fence and barriers will separate it from the rest of the base.

Only U.S. construction firms are being allowed to bid on the contract and proposals are due Dec. 3, according to the latest Corps of Engineers notice.

Site 911 is the latest in a long history of military construction projects the United States has undertaken for the IDF under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. The 1998 Wye River Memorandum between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has led to about $500 million in U.S. construction of military facilities for the Israelis, most of them initially in an undeveloped part of the Negev Desert. It was done to ensure there were bases to which IDF forces stationed in the West Bank could be redeployed.

As recorded in the Corps’ European District magazine, called Engineering in Europe, three bases were built to support 20,000 troops, and eventually the Israeli air force moved into the same area, creating Nevatim air base. A new runway, 2.5 miles long, was built there by the Corps along with about 100 new buildings and 10 miles of roads.

Over the years, the Corps has built underground hangers for Israeli fighter-bombers, facilities for handling nuclear weapons (though Israel does not admit having such weapons), command centers, training bases, intelligence facilities and simulators, according to Corps publications.

Within the past two years the Corps, which has three offices in Israel, completed a $30 million set of hangars at Nevatim, which the magazine describes as a “former small desert outpost that has grown to be one of the largest and most modern air bases in the country.” It has also supervised a $20 million project to build maintenance shops, hangars and headquarters to support Israel’s large Eitan unmanned aerial vehicle.

Site 911, which will be built at another base, appears to be one of the largest projects. Each of the first three underground floors is to be roughly 41,000 square feet, according to the Corps notice. The lower two floors are much smaller and hold equipment.

Security concerns are so great that non-Israeli employees hired by the builder can come only from “the U.S., Canada, Western Europe countries, Poland, Moldavia, Thailand, Philippines, Venezuela, Romania and China,” according to the Corps notice. “The employment of Palestinians is also forbidden,” it says.

Among other security rules: The site “shall have one gate only for both entering and exiting the site” and “no exit or entrance to the site shall be allowed during work hours except for supply trucks.” Guards will be Israeli citizens with experience in the Israeli air force. Also, “the collection of information of any type whatsoever related to base activities is prohibited.

November 30, 2012 | 5 Comments »

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  1. Nigel Shaw Said:

    the time has come for all sane Jews in Israel and worldwide to insist on the IMMEDIATE DESTRUCTION OF IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES.

    “sane” is the KEY operative word.

  2. 911 isn’t an odd name, it is the number dialed in the US for emergency services.
    The thought of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is so terrifying that it is hard to contemplate that an Israeli leadership would allow that to happen, with or without US permission.
    Yet I see that the “eminent” commentator Barry Rubin talks about such an eventuality as a fait accompli.
    Has the world gone completely mad? Less than 70 years after the end of World War2, that saw the annihilation of 6 million Jews, “serious” commentators are sanguine about a nuclear arsenal in the hands of the Mad Mullahs who would delight in the destruction of another 6 million Jews, and are perfectly prepared to receive as their “reward”, their swift consignment to a life in the hereafter with 72 virgins.
    Never mind about social justice demonstrations for better housing, the time has come for all sane Jews in Israel and worldwide to insist on the IMMEDIATE DESTRUCTION OF IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES.

  3. It would be seen that the decision whether or not to bomb Iran when it crosses those “red lines” has already been made. Netanyahu and his advisors have come to the conclusion that it is impossible, in the long run, to stop Iran from getting the bomb without massive U.S. help and Obama, now elected to a second term and Hillary waiting in the wings for a “3rd term”, Israel must prepare for the worst.
    It must have secure bases with absolute protection for carrying out a retaliatory strike. It must have protection for the troops necessary to control the country if a fisrt strike Iranian strike with an atomic weapon succeeds. Obviously this is all part of a bargain that Israel has made with Obama and his advisors in return for not attacking Iran in what would have been a useless exercise. Israel has to think “long” now, as well as short. Every country with nuclear facilities has similar provisions for its command and retaliation structure. The dye has been set. All action against Iran will now be covert or via third parties. In the end it will be Israel that will survive. As much as most of us hate the prospect, bitter reality always come out on top. Iran will get the “bomb” sooner or later. In the meantime Israel must become impregnable to direct attack and remain capaable of exacting a terrible revenge.

  4. It was done to ensure there were bases to which IDF forces stationed in the West Bank could be redeployed.

    Does this mean goodbye YS? Have far reaching decisions been agreed to without public involvement by temporary dictators? What’s it all about, Alfie(when you work it out, Alfie)?

  5. “Expected to take more than two years to build”

    Israelis won’t last that long. Maybe Obama promised it to Hamas as their new HQ or maybe it’s a bunker for the Israeli elite when they make their final sellout deal with Hamas of the Israeli people.