Problem if cause 3000
will end in allegations
is intriguing, but it is not the most important thing about this business. When it comes to suspicion of any kind of offense, the question is justified if it has passed and considered a criminal offense. This is naturally the bread and butter of police investigators and prosecutors. However, the issues raised by the submarine business are about a very different matter, just as important: the method by which decisions have been made on far-reaching security consequences.
There are at least six issues at hand. The first concerns the question whether the Germans were aware of the fact that Israel was interested in acquiring three more submarines for a total of nine, but that the decision was modified only by the opposition of the then defense minister Moshe Yaenon decided that the three additional submarines would replace three older submarines.
Nine submarines far outweigh our need and ability to maintain. So how did such an intention come about?
Is the second aspect why such a decision should be taken so early, years before existing submarines become obsolete? How the cabinet approves the multi-annual plan of the army, the Gideon program, and shortly thereafter will come up with such a decision, above and beyond the plan.
The third issue concerns the defense minister's claim that the prime minister, without his knowledge, has asked Germany to acquire two vessels with submarine detection capabilities. This is similar to the Prime Minister's request to acquire another F-15 squadron in the United States, without the knowledge of the defense minister, the head of state and the Air Force Commander.
As regards all three of these, it should be stressed that the purpose of a multi-annual plan for the defense institution is to achieve maximum security in a given budget. It is possible and necessary to argue about the optimal balance, but it is not reasonable to make sporadic decisions without understanding the completely alternative price and it is impossible to decide and certainly not to pass it on to another country before to conduct an in-depth internal discussion of Israeli decision-makers.
The fourth issue is more worrying: canceling the auction for the purchase of ships to protect Israel's shipping economic zone and unilateral decision to purchase these Thyssenkrup ships, which, unlike submarines, does not have a clear advantage in this area.
It seems that large ships (and more expensive) were eventually purchased, more than initially needed. It is true that there are situations where it is better not to auction and to make a transaction between two states (eg the GTG transaction), but in these cases the other State also undertakes to purchase valuable equipment similar in Israel. This has not happened here, and it is obvious that unusual pressure has been applied, which has led to the confusing decision.
The fifth edition refers to the unusual demand of the German company of the Histadrut Workers Union to privatize shipyards. Given that the shipyard is the property of IDF, it is extremely unusual to hold negotiations to buy property behind the owner back. Who knew and collaborated with it?
The sixth issue and the most disturbing of all are the claims that an Israeli official told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Israel had no objection to the fact that Germany sold advanced submarines to Egypt without the knowledge of the defense minister.
Perhaps there is no criminal aspect for any of these issues, but should these issues be examined only through the crimes? Does the police have the necessary data, experience and motivation to examine it?
These are aspects of two completely different areas: foreign policy and security, and how the Israeli government operates, including the limits of responsibility between the parties.
Without underestimating the seriousness of the criminal suspicions, the issues discussed in the 3000 issue – the issues of the military-strategic procurement process and the way decisions are made – the lesser their interest seems to be.