Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Amit shabi, Yedioth Ahronoth
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Photo: AFP

'Submarine deal achieved through concessions'

German newspaper Welt am Sontag claims Berlin's decision to green light submarine purchase deal was only allowed to go ahead after Jerusalem agreed to release Palestinian Authority funds

Israel‘s decision to release frozen public funds to the Palestinians last week came after Germany insisted it did so as a condition for the completion of the sale of a submarine, a German newspaper reported Sunday.


The Welt am Sonntag quoted sources as saying Germany had told Israel it could not go ahead with the purchase of the submarine unless it made political concessions the DPA news agency reported.


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According to the report, aides of German Chancellor Angela Merkel had confidentially informed leaders of opposition parties in parliament that Israel made a concession before Berlin approved the sale on Wednesday.


מרקל ונתניהו בגרמניה (צילום: אבי אוחיון לע"מ)

Netanyahu and Merkel (Photo: GPO)


On the same day, Israel's government said $100 million in blocked revenues such as customs duties were being passed over to the Palestinian Authority. Israel had been withholding the funds in protest over the Palestinians' admission to UNESCO on October 31.


Later that day a German source confirmed that the German government would sell Israel a sixth Dolphin submarine which according to foreign reports, is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.


Reports reveal that Germany allocated $180 million from the next annual budget to finance a third of the cost of the submarine which costs an estimated $500 million – and which will be sold to Israel at a subsidized price.


The submarine is set to arrive in Israel in 2018 at which time the IDF will be able to have two submarines at sea simultaneously at any given time.


Over the last few years Israel has asked that the sixth submarine be transferred into its hands but Germany held up the move.


According to a report in Germany's Der Spiegel newspaper, the German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière visited Israel four months ago and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. In the meeting, the German minister promised to complete the submarine deal and transfer the budget for the financing of the advanced sea craft.


Growing anger

A short time later, Defense Ministry Director General Udi Shani launched negotiations with German officials for the deal's fruition. Meanwhile, German officials prepared the necessary paperwork for the approval of the deal in the German parliament (Bundestag).


But the Germans drew all preparations to a halt six weeks ago. Unofficially, the Germans told their Israeli counterparts that the freeze was a way for Chancellor Angela Merkel to express her anger over Netanyahu's conduct with the Palestinians.


Merkel's anger increased when Netanyahu announced the renewal of the construction of thousands of housing units in east Jerusalem. She was also concerned that details of an angry conversation she had with him would be published in the global media.


Later on, it was reported that the German government was considering the possibility of backing out of its decision to finance a third of the cost of the sixth submarine and that negotiations on the matter had been suspended.


Yet it appears that the disagreements have been solved, most likely due to the decision made by the forum of eight ministers to un-freeze the Palestinian funds.




פרסום ראשון: 12.04.11, 15:25
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