Tags: israel | defense | secret | base

US to Oversee Construction of Underground Israeli Building

Thursday, 29 Nov 2012 01:54 PM

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assisting the Israeli Defense Forces to build a secret, $100 million underground base near Tel Aviv, the latest of several the U.S. has helped with during the past decade.

The facility, called “Site 911” according to plans, will be entirely underground, with the uppermost three floors each expected to have about 41,000-square-feet of room. Those floors will have classrooms, an auditorium, laboratory, and shock-resistant doors, while the bottom two are thought to be for equipment storage.

Bids on the five story complex are due by Dec. 3 and can only be submitted by U.S. contractors, reported the Washington Post.

According to the request for bids, the only non-Israelis permitted to work there must be from a small handful of countries which includes the U.S., Canada, and western Europe. Palestinians are specifically forbidden from entering the construction site.

A representative of the Pentagon told the Post that only an IDF defense minister would be able to explain the purpose of the facility.

The Corps is expected to start construction on another $100 million facility in Israel that will include, according to that request for bids, “a complex facility with site development challenges” requiring services that include “electrical, communication, mechanical, HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] and plumbing.” Based on security clearance requirements, it is thought that the building will be a secure command center.

Contractors for both Site 911 and the facility the Corps plans to start constructing next year require high level security clearances, either from Israel or the equivalent from approved foreign governments.

Site 911 is the latest in a long series of bases and buildings the Corps has worked with the IDF on in Israel going back to the 1998 Wye River Memorandum.

That agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has led to roughly $500 million in new military facilities because of agreements for IDF forces to be redeployed out of certain areas in the West Bank.


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