Israeli plans to build 1,100 new apartments in the Gilo section of east Jerusalem may sink the country’s newest German-built submarine before its keel is even laid and could torpedo one of the Jewish state’s most important alliances.
As a sign of growing opposition to the Netanyahu government’s aggressive settlements policy and doubts about whether the prime minister is trustworthy, Germany is threatening to cancel Israel’s order for a sixth Dolphin class submarine.
The German press agency described the sub as "nuclear capable" and quoted Der Spiegel news magazine saying German officials confirmed the Merkel government, which has agreed to contribute over $190 million to its approximately $1 billion price tag, may delay or even drop the deal.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has made little secret of her frustration in dealing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who she felt has repeatedly misled her on his commitment to peace-making.
She has said the prime minister’s approval of the Gilo project shows Netanyahu "cannot be taken seriously and has no intention of complying with the basic terms needed to renew the negotiations with the Palestinians."
Israel already has three German-built Dolphin class subs in its fleet and two more in late stages of construction at the Kiel shipyard. Unconfirmed reports say the newest subs would be capable of launching nuclear-armed cruise missiles.