Germany has confirmed plans to sell a sixth, subsidized nuclear-capable submarine to Israel, after Berlin reportedly dropped objections over Jewish settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories, AFP reports.
German defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced the sale on Tuesday after meeting his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak in Berlin. “We are committed to this [sale] and find it proper,” de Maiziere reportedly said, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports.
About a third of the cost of the Dolphin-class submarine would be subsidized by Germany, according to sources, totaling a maximum of 135 billion euros ($178 million).
The sale comes after years of stalled negotiations. Berlin reportedly agreed to the sale only after Israel released millions of dollars in withheld customs duties to the Palestinian Authority last year.
Three Dolphin-class submarines are already in use in the Israeli navy, delivered in 1999 and 2000. Two other submarines have been ordered and are slated for delivery later this year. An option for a sixth was also included in the contract.
Media reports have said the submarines can carry nuclear warheads and have a range of 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles).
Reactions to the announcement varied. Iran’s state news channel, Press TV, said:This is while Israel is the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and it has never allowed inspections of its nuclear facilities nor has it joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty based on its policy of nuclear ambiguity.
While Israel’s JTA had this to say:
Israel will receive a sixth Dolphin-class submarine from Germany, significantly increasing the country’s self-defence capabilities.
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