Germany approves sale of nuclear-capable submarines to Israel: Report
Germany’s national security council has approved a controversial deal to sell nuclear-capable submarines to the Israeli regime, a report says.
The leading German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel, reported on Friday that the Federal Security Council had approved the deal, without giving any sources for the information.
It added that the $1.5-billion purchase included three Dolphin-class submarines, to be manufactured by the Germany-based conglomerate ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
Each of the submarines is said to be capable of carrying a total of up to 16 torpedoes and submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM). The SLCMs have a range of at least 1,500 kilometers and are believed to be capable of delivering a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead. Israel already has five such submarines.
In mid-November last year, a report broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10 claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal attorney and long-time confidant, David Shimron, had actually served as a local representative of ThyssenKrupp, arousing suspicions over the premier’s personal interests in the deal.
Furthermore, the Hebrew-language channel later disclosed an email it claimed was proof that Shimron used his close relationship with Netanyahu to lobby for the deal.
The scathing report came not long after Israel’s former minister of military affairs, Moshe Ya’alon, alleged that he was opposed to the submarine deal and had been sidelined on the purchase plans, fueling further suspicions over impropriety in relation to the controversial agreement.
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog had even called for a Knesset commission of inquiry to be established into the case.
So far, the German shipbuilder has announced that it believes there is no misconduct in the huge purchase, a third of which is reportedly to be financed by the German government.
However, Der Spiegel‘s report further said that the German government first hesitated to finalize the deal but later agreed with the Israeli regime on a “memorandum of understanding” containing a clause that granted Berlin the right to tear the contract up if corruption allegations were proven.
During the past two decades, Israel has ordered six submarines from Germany, with the final one set to be delivered in 2018. Tel Aviv says it has decided to buy the three more submarines to renew its fleet.