Netanyahu: German Submarines Prove Commitment to Israeli Security

German media reports about ongoing negotiations between Germany and Pakistan on the sale of nuclear submarines.

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
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Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that submarines supplied by Germany to Israel are "a very important addition to our national security," adding that "through them, [Germany] demonstrates its commitment to Israel's security."

Netanyahu made the remarks in an interview with Kai Diekmann, chief editor of the German tabloid Bild, Europe's most popular newspaper, in Jerusalem.

On Monday, another German newspaper, Der Spiegel, reported that submarines produced by Germany and supplied to Israel as part of an extensive arms deal are capable of launching nuclear-tipped cruise missiles – despite insistence by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the submarines provided to Israel are not nuclear-capable.

While he was not asked about the submarines' nuclear capabilities, Netanyahu told Diekmann he attributes "great seriousness" to Germany's concern for Israel's security, but added that "it's important that the Jewish State know how to defend itself against all threats."

"As Churchill said, 'Give us the tools, we will defend ourselves,'" he added.

Der Spiegel reported that Israel is considering the purchase of three more German submarines, in addition to the six it had already bought – three of which are already in Israel. Germany absorbs a third of the cost of the deals, and allows Israel to delay payment of its part until 2015.

Der Spiegel also reported that Germany has been conducting negotiations with Pakistan over the sale of nuclear submarines. According to the report, negotiations between the two states have been ongoing for several years regarding the sale of three nuclear-capable subs at a total cost of 1.2 billion Euros.

The report was published two days after Der Spiegel's cover expose claiming that Germany sold Israel submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

The deal was justified on the basis of Germany's commitment to Israel's security, and the Holocaust. It has become clear that Germany has been conducting parallel negotiations with additional states, which do not necessarily recognize Israel and in certain scenarios could feasibly threaten its security.

"Pakistan does not officially recognize Israel, and is conducting an arms race with India. Supplying German submarines could ignite [the arms race] and threaten world peace," it was reported in the article. "Additional arming of Pakistan is against Israel's interests."

Opponents of the deal quoted in the article cited Pakistan's instability, with terrorist threats and religious extremists, raising the risks involved with transferring the German sub.

The German Defense Ministry, for its part, argued that Pakistan is "the West's partner" in the war on terror.

Read this article in Hebrew

An Israeli Dolphin-class submarine in the Mediterranean.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

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