Dolphin-class Navy submarine.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
senior official confirmed Wednesday that Germany only agreed to supply
Israel with its sixth Dolphin-class submarine if Jerusalem unfroze $100
million in tax revenue it was withholding from the Palestinian
Authority, Army Radio reported.
"The [submarine] was the icing
on the cake Israel received for agreeing to the European request [to
transfer the funds]," the official said.
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On Sunday, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatened Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the halting of a German plan to deliver a submarine
to Israel if the latter refused to resume the transfer of tax revenues
to the Palestinian Authority.
According to the report, Israel yielded to pressure
from Berlin and unfroze the funds. Immediately after, a German
government official announced her country would build
and pay up to one-third of the cost of a sixth Dolphin-class submarine to be delivered to the Israeli navy.
The agreement in principle to provide
the Dolphin-class submarine, which foreign reports say enhances Israel’s
second-strike capability since it can carry nuclear warheads, comes a month
after reports that Germany was reconsidering the deal because of anger at the
announcement of plans to build some 1,100 housing units in Jerusalem’s Gilo
neighborhood, over the Green Line.
The German official said she did not
know whether those reports were accurate.
She said Germany will pay up to
135 million euros toward the submarine, which will cost between 372m. and 520m.
Talks on the deal for the sub stalled last year after the Germans
declined to underwrite it, as they had done with previous submarine
Welt am Sonntag reported that German deputies were
confidentially informed by the Merkel administration that delivery of the sixth
Dolphin was put on hold because of Netanyahu’s settlement
According to the German paper, the Merkel administration
“informed the heads of parties (Bundestag) and leading foreign politicians that
Israel made concessions.”
The paper cited unnamed deputies from the
governing coalition who said that there was never a serious attempt to use the
Dolphin as leverage over Israel.
Welt am Sonntag wrote that a second
theory is also “plausible” in terms of the delivery of the Dolphin to
The paper cited Iran’s “new aggression” last week, which
culminated in the storming of Britain’s Embassy on Tuesday by the Basij militia
controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.Herb Keinon contributed to the