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November 29, 1991 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS

Israeli Weapons:
German Concern

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22

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1991

Bonn (JTA) — The revela-
tion of clandestine German
weapons shipments to Israel
has provided ammunition
for the latest political
slugfest between the
government and the opposi-
tion Social Democratic Par-
ty.
The SPD, which has
demanded Defense Minister
Gerhard Stoltenberg's res-
ignation for sending Israel
Soviet-made military
equipment from the stocks
the defunct East German
army, was hit by counter-
charges that it started the il-
licit and probably illegal
traffic more than 20 years
ago.
Then SPD defense min-
ister, Helmut Schmidt, who
was later West German
chancellor, was accused in
pro-government newspapers
Wednesday of sending Israel
blueprints of German-
designed submarines in
1970.
The Social Democrats were
in power from 1969 through
1982. According to the
newspaper accounts, Mr.
Schmidt sent the U-boat
plans surreptitiously to
avoid opposition from pro-
Arab ministers.
Israel has no facilities to
build submarines. The Ger-
man plans, drawn by Inge-
nieurkontor Lubeck, found
their way to a British
shipyard, Vickers, which
constructed three undersea
craft for Israel known as the
"206" Class.
But the vessels were fi-
nanced almost entirely by
Germany. Germany is also
financing three new sub-
marines for Israel, designed
by the same Lubeck firm and
presently under construction
in the northern port of Kiel.
The Germans decided to
foot the bill after Israel
canceled the orders on
grounds it could not afford
the new subs.
Mr. Stoltenberg told jour-
nalists last week that the
secret cooperation with
Israel began in 1969, and
had been initiated by
Schmidt. He implicated the
SPD finance minister at the
time, Hans Apel.
Although Mr. Apel
categorically denied that he
knew of secret arms
shipments to Israel during
his tenure, he would not ex-
clude the possibility it had
occurred.
German law has always
forbidden the export of
weaponry to crisis areas

such as the Middle East. But
after 1967, Israel began to
supply then West Germany
with samples of Soviet-made
weapons captured from Arab
armies in the Six-Day War.
Since the collapse of East
Germany, the Bonn
government has recipro-
cated, selecting the kind of
weapons Israel might face on
a future battlefield. But the
exchanges were conducted
outside normal government
channels, through the BND
and Mossad, the secret intel-
ligence agencies of Germany
and Israel, respectively.
The exchanges were ex-
posed at the end of October,
when Hamburg harbor
police discovered several
containers of military
equipment aboard an Israeli
freighter labeled
"agricultural equipment."
Senior officials at the
Defense Ministry said that
since Germany's unification,
"at last we were in a position
to pay back Israel for the
Soviet-made weapons they
delivered to us since 1969."
The Defense Ministry is
preparing a full report on
the cooperation with Israel,
which will be released in two
weeks. The expectation here
is that much of the report
will be leaked to the media
beforehand.

Cook Travel
Halts Pamphlet

Tel. Aviv (JTA) — Thomas
Cook & Sons, the British-
based world travel organiza-
tion, has promised to
withdraw a pamphlet
distributed by its American
division since the Persian
Gulf War in January that
describes Israel as a
dangerous place under Scud
missile attack and prone to
pestilential diseases.
It is packed with other
misinformation about Israel,
the ministry said. A Cook
spokesman in London
"couldn't apologize enough"
but could not explain why
the leaflet contained so
many inaccuracies or why it
had not been revised or
withdrawn long ago, the
Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel's tourism industry
was ravaged by the Gulf
War, as was that of the en-
tire region. But Cook's pam-
phlet, distributed only in the
United States, seemed to go
out of its way to depict Israel
as an undesirable place to
visit.

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