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Israel: selling subs to Egypt endangers us
Photo: DPA

Israel: selling subs to Egypt endangers us

Published: 04 Sep 2012 11:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Sep 2012 11:33 GMT+02:00

Israeli defence experts have appealed against German plans to sell two modern submarines to Egypt, saying it would upset the balance of power in the Middle East.

Modernising the Egyptian submarine fleet would have “significant strategic effects,” said Schlomo Brom, retired brigadier general, now an academic at Tel Aviv University.

The Financial Times Deutschland reported on Tuesday that a host of Israeli experts were speaking out against the deal.

“In the case of a conflict, they could threaten shipping to Israel’s harbours, upon which we are completely dependent,” said Brom. He said Israel would not be able to effectively defend itself against modern submarines.

The timing of the sale was particularly unfortunate, said Eli Shaked, former Israeli ambassador to Egypt. He said tension in the region was high enough as it was. “One should not increase it,” he said.

Arms sales to the Middle East were, “always about the military balance of Israel and its Arabic environment,” said Shimon Stein, former Israel ambassador to Germany. “We have been observing for a considerable time that the Egyptian army is arming itself – but against which enemy? Libya and Sudan are certainly no threat.”

The relationship between Germany and Israel has deteriorated dramatically recently, wrote Israel’s biggest newspaper Jedioth Achronot this weekend. The sale of submarines to Egypt as announced last week by the head of Egypt’s navy, was just part of a process that had been going on for years, the paper’s Berlin correspondent Eldad Beck wrote.

“It begs the question what the government actually means when it talks of its special responsibility for Israel’s security. It seems to be empty,” he said.

Head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Ruprecht Polenz, of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party, has called for information from the government about the deal.

“We are talking here about a sensitive region, and the strategic security of Israel is in Germany’s particular interest. Thus I would like to know how such a deal fits in with that,” he told the FTD.

He said he could imagine there was good reason for it, but that the government had to explain how it did not affect Israel’s security.

Government sources told the paper the Israelis had been consulted before the contract was signed with Egypt.

“We would never do anything which would endanger Israel’s security,” the source told the paper. It was also told that Israel has itself long had German Dolphin class submarines. And not only had the Israelis received significant financial subsidies for the six which it bought, they were far more advanced than the 209 class subs which Egypt wanted.

The Financial Times Deutschland said the government aimed to tie the Egyptian government into western alliances with the deal, saying that the new Egyptian leadership had so far maintained a “sensible” distance to Iran.

The Kieler Nachrichten newspaper reported that the two German submarines which are being built in the city’s HDW shipyard, would be delivered in 2016.

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Your comments about this article

13:40 September 4, 2012 by tedesco
Oh look, israel fiddling with german interest again. That should be something new...
14:12 September 4, 2012 by boxtuna
Usraeli hypocrasy at its best.
14:20 September 4, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
All right to sell to Israel then? That doesn't upset any balance of power?
14:33 September 4, 2012 by raandy
It would be better if no Nation sold arms, it is a lucrative business and many do.

Israel has these German made subs at a very low price. Egypt I am sure did not get the same deal. Israel should not try to block the sale. if they feel the balance of power has changed, they are free to buy more.
14:36 September 4, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Could be a way to boost exports for Germany. Create an arms race in the middle east and keep the euro weak so Israel and Egypt can buy lots of Submarines.
14:48 September 4, 2012 by tedesco
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:16 September 4, 2012 by mobaisch
it will actually try to (though its far away from getting to) balance power.

finally, some people starting to see some truth about M.East!
16:12 September 4, 2012 by mos101392
As far as I know, Israel has the only nuks in the region. Every one else should be screaming foul.
16:16 September 4, 2012 by Legal E
and here it comes... "Dear Berlin, ok, we will not cause any more issues if you sell us 4 more subs at 10% of real value.... rdgs Tel Aviv"
16:26 September 4, 2012 by insight101
@boxtuna

Germany has been selling tanks and subs etc. all over the place lately. I believe they are the 3rd biggest exporter of weapons in the world, and they get around their

"strict regulations" on risky nations by selling to a middleman that can sell it to the final destination. There is plenty of hypocrisy to go around in Germany or any other country for that matter. So why doesn't that bother you enough to mention?
17:14 September 4, 2012 by Repatriated
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:27 September 4, 2012 by tedesco
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:35 September 4, 2012 by bernie1927
@Repatriated

You are so right. How about Israel opening up their nuclear arsenal to international inspections? Right now Iran has every right to protect itself, and if Egypt feels threatened by Israel that would be quite understandable. I wish Germany would finally grow up and treat Israel like any other country.
19:51 September 4, 2012 by ITAMAR
Germany make buisness exactly like every country ,also Israel sells weapons and sophisticated weapons, Eygpt has an huge moderne army built on modern American weapons and advanced tanks, of course the Israeli politician have to say something against it ,but they know it is a rethoric talk , nobody can stop a westren state from selling weapons,

bernie

There will not be attack against Iran all are political talks in order to put pressure on Iran , Israel has interests and try to put pressure and to avoid things which may endager its exsistence but our government can not operate without the agreement of the western states which is for now agaINST ANY OPERATION, but the pressure on the GermanS not to sell is just political and has its limite inside the good relations between the governments,its reminds me the pressure Israel made on USA not to sell advanced jet fighters to Saudia, of course it did not help and we had to sollow the bitter pill,In what concerne nuclear weapon Israel announced it will not be the first to use that weapon.and no we are not using allways the holocaust as excuse to get stuff from Germany.

AND YES WE WILL DEFEND OUR RIGHT TO EXSIST AS WE DID IN PAST.
06:50 September 5, 2012 by wenddiver
The End User is probably Chinese stealing German technology. The Red sea and the Mediterean are notoriously bad locations for submarine operations and two subs might be an inconvience, but hardly a great blockade to a modern military like Israel.

If Israel intercepts info that the sib would be transfered to a hostile niddle eastern power it could provide the spark for a pre-emptive strke, which has the potential to spark nuclear war in Eurpes front yard.

TheArms sales to the Middle East will eventually come back to bite the player, hopefully it will not be a nuclear bite coming down in Europe.
11:21 September 5, 2012 by NEUEVILLA
Typical German export policy!

Sell weapons to both sides in any area of potential conflict, and try to keep any intervention to be as low as politics will allow.
16:58 September 5, 2012 by insight101
@ NEUEVILLA

and at the same time encourage your people to criticize the u.s. for its sale of weapons to nations that it later has problems with. well the german superiority complex must live on...
04:10 September 6, 2012 by vonSchwerin
@bernie1927,

Uncle Bernie! My favorite veteran of the Nazi Wehrmacht!

Have you forgotten that Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and therefore Israel is not under a legal obligation the same way that Iran is?

As for arms sales, maybe Germany shouldn't be selling arms to any foreign powers. Haven't the Germans spread enough trouble around Europe and the world with their arms? Surely there is a better way for Germany to make money abroad than selling subs to Egypt and Israel and poison gas to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
11:31 September 7, 2012 by JenDigs
@vonSchwerin: You are correct... Israel did not join in... I wonder why... (yes, that is sarcasm)... I guess all those nasty, evil middle eastern countries who did join up (including, but not limited to: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Suadi Arabia, etc. etc. etc.) should just back out like North Korea, huh? That'll even things up I guess. No one will start screaming about their withdrawal like they scream about the fact Israel refused to join. (Oh wait, is that silence I hear? Nevermind...)
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