Ne­tanyahu de­fends ‘scan­dalous’ sub­ma­rine pur­chase

The Myanmar Times - - World -

PRIME Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu de­fended Is­rael’s de­ci­sion to buy three more sub­marines from Ger­many, in the face of a po­ten­tial scan­dal in­volv­ing his per­sonal lawyer over the sale.

“Con­flict of in­ter­est” sto­ries have been rife in the me­dia since Chan­nel 10 tele­vi­sion re­vealed that lawyer David Shim­ron also rep­re­sents the Is­raeli agent of the Ger­man group ThyssenKrupp which builds the sub­ma­rine.

But the premier, who has sworn he was un­aware of Mr Shim­ron’s link to the deal, de­fended the pur­chase of the ad­vanced sub­marines at the weekly cabi­net meet­ing.

The pur­chase is fac­ing mount­ing calls for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, es­pe­cially in light of op­po­si­tion from sec­tors of the armed forces com­mand and some de­fence ex­perts be­cause of the high costs.

According to Is­raeli me­dia, the Jewish state has or­dered three more sub­marines at a com­bined price of 1.2 bil­lion euros (US$1.3 bil­lion), to re­place the old­est ves­sels in its ex­ist­ing Dol­phin fleet, which en­tered ser­vice in 1999.

Is­rael al­ready has five of the sta­teof-the-art Ger­man sub­marines, with a sixth due for de­liv­ery in 2017.

Ger­many, in the form of mil­i­tary as­sis­tance, has so far cov­ered onethird of the costs of the sub­marines in the Is­raeli fleet.

The Dol­phins can be equipped with mis­siles armed with nu­clear war­heads. Is­rael is the Mid­dle East’s sole if un­de­clared nu­clear power, re­fus­ing to con­firm or deny that it has such weapons. –

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