After Hesitation, Germany Agrees to Arms Sale to Israel

The government of Germany has approved the sale to Israel of German-designed Dingo II APVs and two Dolphin-class submarines.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz , | updated: 9:24 PM

Die Welt newspaper reported this month that the German government initially hesitated in providing the All-Protected Vehicles (APVs), concerned that they were to be used in confrontation with the Palestinian Authority. At the time, former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder argued that the vehicles could be used in territories "occupied by Israel." However, Die Welt's sources in the German security council said that Berlin no longer objects to the sale "for test purposes."

Israel is expected to purchase over 100 Dingo II APVs for approximately $100 million.

The multi-purpose Dingo II is an air-transportable, armored, mine-proof troop transport vehicle, designed for high mobility in any type of terrain. It is manufactured by an American firm under license from the German Krauss Maffei Wegmann company. Sales such as that recently approved to Israel require German federal government approval.

A second, more substantial, deal between Germany and Israel for the sale of two Dolphin-class submarines, produced by German firm Thyssen-HDW, is under review, with a decision expected in coming days.

Late last year, two German weeklies, Der Spiegel and Focus, reported that Israel will be purchasing the two Dolphin class submarines for a total of $1.17 billion, with one-third of the cost to be covered by the German government.

Germany provided Israel with three Dolphin class submarines after the first Gulf War. Two of the subs were supplied free of charge after it was revealed that German companies helped Saddam Hussein develop his weapons program. The third submarine was purchased at a cost of $350 million.

According to defense analysts, the new submarines will provide Israel with second-strike capability, in the event that Iran, or any other state, attacks Israel with nuclear weapons. Some reports suggest that the torpedo hatches on the Dolphin submarines acquired by Israel have been widened to accommodate nuclear missiles.