Germany is “reconsidering” its decision to sell Israel a sixth Dolphin class submarine, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the move was prompted by the tensions between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Merkel’s frustration over the new housing plans approved in east Jerusalem.
Top political sources said that Merkel was irked with Netanyahu, who “gave her the impression that he would be willing to suspend settlement expansion in order to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”
Israel’s recent approval of 1,100 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem led Merkel to announce that Netanyahu “cannot be taken seriously and has no intention of complying with the basic terms needed to renew the negotiations with the Palestinian.” [my emphasis]
If I may elucidate the boldfaced phrase, Merkel means that Bibi refuses to submit to Palestinian preconditions for negotiations, which include a freeze on all construction outside the Green line, agreement on pre-1967 lines plus swaps as borders, and several other things.
It is quite remarkable: the Arabs demand — and Europe supports them — that Israel agree to their desired outcome before starting to talk. Keep in mind, of course, that even if there were negotiations they could not possibly succeed, because the Palestinians have made it clear that they will never recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people or give up the so-called ‘right’ of return.
So the whole ‘negotiation’ ploy is just an attempt to squeeze concessions out of Israel.
…this is what all the fuss is about: a few more apartments in an existing Jewish neighborhood where 40,000 Jews already live, located 100 yards from the Green Line, adjoining other Jewish neighborhoods and empty space.
Is it not 100% certain that if Israel and the Palestinians were to reach an agreement to create a Palestinian state that Gilo would end up on the Israeli side of the border? Let me put it another way: what imaginable Israeli government would agree to a treaty that would not place Gilo in Israel?
Palestinian Arab fantasies that the UN or the US is going to declare that everything outside the 1949 armistice line belongs to them so that they can move forward with their plan to expel the Jews are just that — fantasies.
So why do the US and Europe indulge them?
One reason is that both the EU and the US do not recognize any difference between ‘settlements’ and Jerusalem, and they want to make that point. I also think that they pick on Jerusalem because it is so important to Israelis and Jews — crush us here, and we’ll give up all resistance to walking down the road to the end of the Jewish state (perhaps they got this idea from the PLO’s Abbas Zaki).
The Dolphin submarine is important because the Dolphins, said to be fitted with nuclear-warhead equipped cruise missiles, constitute an important part of Israel’s ‘second-strike’ capability. Iran (or any other nation) understands that even if it devastates Israel, massive retaliation is inevitable. Although this doesn’t entirely solve the problem of Iranian nuclear weapons — they can change the landscape of the region without being used — it is a powerful deterrent against the most horrible scenario.
Nevertheless, Israel can probably live without this sub. It already has 3 Dolphin-class subs with two more under construction. In 2007, analyst Anthony Cordesman estimated that a second strike by Israel on Iran would result in 16 to 28 million dead in that country.
It’s also been suggested that part or all of the problem lies with the price. The deal called for Germany to subsidize $190 million of the estimated $500-$700 million cost. If that’s so, then Merkel should admit that they can’t afford the deal and it can be renegotiated.
But if the sticking point is Jerusalem, my guess is that Israel will tell Merkel that a submarine is not worth giving up sovereignty over part of its capital.