Israel fitting nuclear arms on German-supplied subs: report (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 06/03/12)
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Israel is arming submarines supplied and largely financed by Germany
with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, influential German news weekly
Der Spiegel reports in its issue to be published on Monday.
magazine said in a cover story that Berlin had until now denied
any knowledge that German submarines were being used as part of an
Israeli atomic arsenal.
But former high-ranking officials of the
German defence ministry told
Der Spiegel that the government always assumed Israel was putting
nuclear warheads on the Dolphin-class vessels.
based on a months-long probe, cited files from the
foreign ministry in Berlin indicating the West German state was aware
of the practice as early as 1961.
In Israel, foreign ministry
spokesman Yigal Palmor said only: "I can
confirm that we have German submarines. It´s no secret.
"As for the rest, I am not in a position to talk about their
capacity," he told AFP.
Israel is the Middle East´s sole if
undeclared nuclear-armed power.
Germany has already supplied Israel with three of the submarines in
question, footing most of the bill, and another three are to be
delivered by 2017 under a recently signed contract.
Israel is weighing whether to order three more, according
to the report.
"The Germans can be proud to have ensured the
existence of the state
of Israel for several years to come," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud
Barak was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying.
The opposition Social
Democrat Party called Sunday on Chancellor
Angela Merkel´s government for an explanation.
government must provide information so that we know if
the submarines delivered by Germany can be potentially equipped with
nuclear warheads," party spokesman Rolf Muetzenich told Der Spiegel.
Merkel´s spokesman Steffen Seibert said all submarines had been
"The federal government will not speculate on
subsequent arming," he
The report said Germany hoped to see Israeli concessions
settlements on Palestinian land and approval for the completion of a
sewage treatment plant in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the
Israel sees its existence under threat if its arch-
foe Iran goes
nuclear. Like the United States, it has refused to rule out bombing
Iranian nuclear sites.
Germany, bearing the historical guilt of
the Holocaust, is Israel´s
closest ally in Europe.
But it has sharply criticised Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s pro-
settlement policies in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem as
undermining peace efforts with the Palestinians.
between Germany and Israel flared in April when Nobel prize-
winning German author Gunter Grass published an inflammatory poem
warning that a nuclear-armed Israel "could wipe out the Iranian
people (with a) first strike." (Copyright © 2012 Agence France
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