Germany approves submarine deal with Israel despite graft probe: Reports
Story Code : 678185
The Germans have given their approval to the deal,” an Israeli official told the AFP on condition of anonymity due to the political sensitivity of the issue.
Berlin had held up the signing of the deal amid the ongoing corruption investigation, in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of having pursued personal interests.
Israeli media also cited sources as saying that Berlin has given the green light to a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the sale of the submarines to the Tel Aviv regime.
The MoU, however, includes an opt-out clause if any criminal charges are brought against the administration of the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the sources.
The sources also said the MoU is likely to be signed by both sides in the coming weeks, despite an ongoing criminal investigation into the deal arranged by Israeli officials closely tied to Netanyahu.
The three Dolphin-class submarines, produced by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, would join six other identical subs that are already part of the Israeli underwater military fleet, Israeli media reports said.
The diesel-electric vessels were described as “the best conventional submarines in the world” by an Israeli military official identified only as Maj. Y. quoted in a 2013 report by the World Tribune.
The official, according to the report, further referred to the Dolphin-class subs as a “spy tool,” and added, “During times of war, submarines are one of the most far-reaching instruments in the Israeli Defense Forces. You do not know where it is and do not know where it will sink you.”
Moreover, Israel’s local daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Friday that in the framework of the revised MoU, Germany has reserved the right to stop the deal and even cancel it if the ongoing criminal probe in Israel will at any point reveal that senior officials that arranged the sale of the war vessels did so unlawfully.
Dubbed Case 3000, the investigation is looking into potential wrongdoing involving Netanyahu’s personal lawyer and German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp’s local representative as part of the 2-billion-Euro deal whereby Tel Aviv would also buy four patrol boats.