[Freemanlist2] Secret Cooperation Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built Submarines
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Secret Cooperation Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built Submarines
A German shipyard has already built three submarines for Israel, and three
more are planned. Now SPIEGEL has learned that Israel is arming the
submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The German government has
known about Israel's nuclear weapons program for decades, despite its
Germany is helping Israel to develop its military nuclear capabilities,
SPIEGEL has learned. According to extensive research carried out by the
magazine, Israel is equipping submarines that were built in the northern
German city of Kiel and largely paid for by the German government with
nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The missiles can be launched using a
previously secret hydraulic ejection system. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud
Barak told SPIEGEL that Germans should be "proud" that they have secured the
existence of the state of Israel "for many years."
In the past, the German government has always stuck to the position that it
is unaware of nuclear weapons being deployed on the vessels. Now, however,
former high-ranking officials from the German Defense Ministry, including
former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff
Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had always assumed that Israel would
deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue
with the military in Tel Aviv.
Israel has a policy of not commenting officially on its nuclear weapons
program. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry make it
clear, however, that the German government has known about the program since
1961. The last discussion for which there is evidence took place in 1977,
when then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt spoke to then-Israeli Foreign Minister
Moshe Dayan about the issue.
The submarines are built by the German shipyard HDW in Kiel. Three
submarines have already been delivered to Israel, and three more will be
delivered by 2017. In addition, Israel is considering ordering its seventh,
eighth and ninth submarines from Germany.
The German government recently signed the contract for the delivery of the
sixth vessel. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Chancellor
Angela Merkel made substantial concessions to the Israelis. Not only is
Berlin financing one-third of the cost of the submarine, around EUR135
million ($168 million), but it is also allowing Israel to defer its payment
Merkel had tied the delivery of the sixth submarine to a number of
conditions, including a demand that Israel stop its expansionist settlement
policy and allow the completion of a sewage treatment plant in the Gaza
Strip, which is partially financed with German money. So far, Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met none of the terms.
Check back on SPIEGEL International on Monday for the full English-language
version of SPIEGEL's cover story on Germany's cooperation with Israel over
its submarine program.
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