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General (ret.) Yaron: ‘Vital For Israel To Quickly Resolve Crisis With U.S. 0ver Israeli Arms Sale To China’ ‘Israel has Not harmed American Interests Or Policy: Solution Can Be Found Within a Month Or Two’

Labor MK Sneh: ‘The Spare Parts Sale Was Concluded In 1999 And Does Not Include ‘One American Nut Or Bolt’

Amos Yaron

The tension between Jerusalem and Washington over an Israeli arms sale to China has reached the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yaron, the Director General of the Defense Ministry, called it a crisis which could be resolved quietly with the U.S. in a month or two. However, several MKs criticized the Defense Ministry’s handling of the affair.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

'There is a crisis with the U.S. over an Israeli arms sale to China’, says Amos Yaron, the Director General of the Defense Ministry. The retired IDF General also declared it was vital to quickly resolve the dispute and in such a manner that Israel’s relations will not be harmed with either Washington or Beijing.

Tang Li-Tuan

Amos Yaron was summoned to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to report on the tension brewing between Israel and the U.S. over an Israeli arms sale to China. Yaron declared that Israel has not violated American law or its commitment to the U.S. on foreign arms sales. Four years ago, the U.S. barred the sale of a sophisticated Israeli spy plane, the Falcon to China. At that time, Israeli and American officials had intensive consultations on Israeli arms sales to foreign countries which might include American components. Since then, Israel had been careful not to harm any American interest or policy. And Yaron added: I believe it will be possible to resolve the crisis within a month or two without damaging our relations with the U.S. or China. ‘Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz were also involved in the current contacts with the Americans. Yaron said most of the media reports about the arms sale were false: ‘It’s for spare parts and no more than that!’ Foreign news reports say the deal involves the upgrading of pilot-less drones sold to China in the past. Appearing earlier in a secret sub-committee, the defense official revealed all the details about the arms sale; however, in the full committee he refused to do so, fearing they would be leaked to the media. In response MKs Ariel, Eldad, Majali and Sarid walked out in protest. Yaron said the affair was super-sensitive and media leaks could cause future intelligence damage to Israel.

The sub-committee members, who heard Yaron’s secret briefing, backed the defense official to the hit. Labor MK Ephraim Sneh, a former deputy Defense Minister told IsraCast the arms sale to China dates back to 1999 and does not contain U.S. components or technology; as Sneh put it, ‘not one American nut or bolt, it’s blue and white all the way!’ Sneh contends that Israel must honor the arms sale with China, otherwise her reputation and future foreign arms sales will be in jeopardy. Moreover, the U.S. often sold weapons to Israel’s enemies, such as missiles to Saudi Arabia. But some other committee members were critical; MKs Yossi Sarid and Etti Livne argued that America was Israel’s best friend and nothing should be done to jeopardize the relationship. Another MK Danny Yatom, a former IDF General vouched for Yaron’s integrity, while adding that something had gone wrong, if there was now another rumpus with the Pentagon over an arms sale to China.Meanwhile, on a visit to Jerusalem, China’s Deputy Premier Tang Li-Tuan said the U.S. had no business interfering in a legitimate arms deal.

David Essing

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