BERLIN – The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday to debunk media reports that her government had blocked delivery of a German submarine to Israel to force Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop housing construction in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood.

Gilo, with some 40,000 residents in the south of the Israeli capital, is over the Green Line in an area that was captured in the Six Day War.

The advanced Dolphin vessel can carry nuclear missiles, making it possible to launch a second- strike attack against aggressors. A second-strike capability is widely viewed as a important deterrent mechanism necessary to ensure Israel’s security.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center vigorously urges Chancellor Merkel to unambiguously dispel a headline this generation never thought to see: ‘German Arms Embargo on Israel,’ Dr.

Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, said.

Yediot Aharonot reported last week that Merkel threatened to cancel delivery of a planned sixth second-strike capability submarine because of Israeli construction in Gilo and Netanyahu's failure to make progress with the Palestinian Authority on a peace agreement.

The Israeli Defense Ministry and the Merkel administration have remain tightlipped about the report.

According to the Wiesenthal Center, “The deal has, reportedly, been scuttled to pressure Jerusalem into further concessions to the Palestinians and to scold PM Netanyahu for construction in Gilo - a district of municipal Jerusalem.

“A boycott of Germany for building in Prenzlauer Berg – a district of former Communist East Berlin – would be equally absurd,” Samuels said.

He criticized last week’s meeting between German politicians and policy-makers and a leading representative of Iran’s government, noting “that the timing of the leak [about the submarine] coincided with yesterday’s scheduled meeting in Berlin of the government’s coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP) spokesman, Rainer Stinner, with Iranian Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Mohammed Roza Farzin.



“Could the submarine incident scapegoating Israel be a cover for German violation of UN and EU sanctions against Iran?” Samuels asked. “Could the potential bonanza of Iranian trade outweigh the loss of German jobs incurred by the cancellation of the submarine deal with Israel?” Stinner opposes a ban of trade with the Revolutionary Guard Corps. The US designated the Guards a global terrorist organization in 2007. The Guards runs Iran’s nuclear program and controls around a third of its economy through a series of subsidiaries and trusts.

Stinner and Bundestag deputy Ruprecht Polenz, from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, frequently meet with Iranian lawmakers and face criticism for failing to isolate the Tehran regime. Polenz welcomed a delegation of Iranian parliament members to the Bundestag in June, claiming sanctions do not rule out talks with Iranian politicians.

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