The sudden appearance south of Rosh Ha'ayin of a massive army "supply base,"
built by the U.S. army engineering corps for the IDF with Arab workers, has raised
eyebrows and suspicions about the real purpose and intended users of the massive
According to an IDF spokesman, the new base (dubbed "Nachshonim,"
after a nearby kibbutz) and located less than 10 minutes east of Ben Gurion
airport, will be used as a storage facility for reservists' equipment, including
beds, uniforms, etc.
Still, the base's massive size -- dozens of huge warehouses, with reinforced
bunkers, watchtowers, and tunnels -- casts a shadow of doubt over this singular
explanation for its use.
Photo: The alleged "storage facilities" of the U.S.-built IDF army base
in Rosh Ha'ayin. (Photo: Barry Chamish)
Investigative journalist Barry Chamish, who initially broke the story, and a colleague
traveled down route 443 and spoke to one of the builders:
According to one former American soldier who viewed photographs of the base
(and who would only speak on condition of anonymity) "I saw these kind
of installations when I was in the [U.S.] military. For years I was stationed
at a base where a major part of it was like this. These are not barracks of
any kind. The metal facilities built up on the rocks are huge electronic facilities,
probably filled with CIA and extensive phone and other electronic monitoring
stuff. I have seen bunkers like this before, at a base in California. It is
a missile launch bunker. Somewhere within a mile to 5 miles are silos with the
missiles in them," he said.
But, the IDF spokesman insists: "It's a storage facility for emergency
The fact that the base's construction was commissioned to an Arab contractor
(listed on the sign outside the base as "Mustafa"), and according
to eyewitness reports, has utilized busloads of Arab construction workers, would
suggest that there is no top secret information contained within, at least at
this stage, or that the ultimate purpose might not be limited to, or primarily
intended for, the IDF.
The IDF spokesman reported that the practice of using an Arab labor force to
build non-sensitive IDF facilities is not uncommon, and insisted that the U.S.
military engineering corps has often in the past assisted in the construction
of IDF facilities. The IDF spokesman insisted that "The Americans are helping
to build it, but it is a completely Israeli base, only to be used by Israeli
But even if the somewhat suspicious base is in fact a storage facility for
reservists, and even if it is to be used exclusively by the IDF, the question
is, why is a base of this size being built where it is being built, right now?
"If there is an emergency and a lot of reservists get drafted, they will
need material, and they will use the contents of this base," suggested
the IDF spokesman, quickly adding, "It's not because of any impending war
that the public doesn't know about."
The project began in 1998, as a result of the Wye River Agreement signed by
former PM Netanyahu (with Ariel Sharon his foreign minister at the time) and
Yasser Arafat, with physical construction beginning in 2001. Construction is
scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2006.
According to a 2001 report in The Jerusalem Post, the base is the second of
five the U.S. has pledged to build -- at an initial expected total cost of $266
million -- to set up alternatives to IDF bases in the West Bank slated for possible
transfer to the Palestinians. under the Wye Memorandum, the U.S. agreed to fund
IsraelInsider is still awaiting an IDF response to the question of
the project's actual cost