[QODLink]
Archive
Israel-China arms deal angers US
Israeli arms deals with China have provoked tensions between Israel and the United States, the head of Israel's parliamentary defence committee has admitted.
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2004 19:54 GMT
Earlier Israel was stopped from selling its Phalcon AWACS
Israeli arms deals with China have provoked tensions between Israel and the United States, the head of Israel's parliamentary defence committee has admitted.

His comments on Thursday followed reports that the US is demanding the dismissal of Israeli defence ministry director general Amos Yaron over the controversial deal.

"There are tensions, which are hidden from the public, which have appeared over the last one or two years concerning Israeli weapons sales, particularly to China," Yuval Steinitz told Israeli radio.

US officials are furious at Israel for taking back a "sensitive weapons system" sold to China in the 1990s for upgrading, Israel’s Channel Two television reported, although it did not identify the weapon.

Washington had permitted Israel to take the system back from China for repair, but had not authorised it to be upgraded, according to the report.

Israeli denials

Israel's ambassador to Washington, Danny Ayalon, denied on Thursday that the United States had sought the dismissal of Yaron, saying "no demand of that nature was made".

"We must take account of US interests but a demand for the dismissal of a person in charge such as Amos Yaron ... would be unacceptable"

Yuval Steinitz,
Chairman of Israel's defence committee

"Questions were raised recently, but they are being examined in a good atmosphere," he said.

Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz also denied the report, while accepting that a dossier on Israeli weapons sales to China was "in the process of clarification".

The issue has become very sensitive after Israel in July 2000 cancelled a contract to sell to China a Russian Ilyushin-76 plane equipped with its own Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).

Past attempts

In March 2001, Israel agreed to pay China $350 million to compensate for the cancelled sale.

China had forked out a down payment of $200 million on a first plane, valued at $250 million, and had signed a contract which foresaw the purchase of four similar aircraft.

The United States based its demand on concerns that advanced US defence technology contained in Israeli equipment could be used against China's foe Taiwan.

"We must take account of US interests but a demand for the dismissal of a person in charge such as Amos Yaron ... would be unacceptable," Steinitz said. 

A source close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told AFP that "the whole thing has been a misunderstanding".

Spying row

The row risks adding to an atmosphere of suspicion that has gripped relations with the Pentagon in recent months.

Sharon has previously said that
Israel does not spy on the US

Sharon was forced in September to insist that Israel was not spying on the United States following allegations that a Pentagon official leaked intelligence to a pro-Israel lobby.

US officials alleged that Pentagon aide Larry Franklin passed secrets to Israel using the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as the conduit.

Franklin is an Iran specialist in the office of Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith, the third most senior civilian official at the Pentagon.

Israel pledged not to spy on Washington after the hugely embarrassing arrest of Jonathan Pollard, an intelligence analyst for the US navy, who passed on thousands of secret documents.

Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987.

US intelligence agencies said in 1992 that Israel had carried out non-authorised transfers of US technologies to China, particularly regarding the Patriot anti-missile system.

These accusations were denied by Israel.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.