BONN (Feb. 12)
Germany’s promise of military and economic assistance to Israel has elicited thanks from Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who told Chancellor Helmut Kohl he was grateful for Bonn’s aid and solidarity with the Jewish state.
A letter Shamir sent the chancellor last week was released for publication here Monday. It appeared as German authorities here Monday. It appeared as German authorities gave serious consideration to providing Israel with $100 million for the purchase of Patriot anti-missile systems from the United States.
According to diplomatic sources here, the financial assistance would be in lieu of German Patriot batteries, which are designed to shoot down enemy aircraft, whereas Israel needs missiles to intercept and destroy Iraqi Scuds.
Germany has promised Israel a total of $660 million in military and economic aid. A check for $3.3 million was presented Monday to the Israeli ambassador, Benjamin Navon, to help repair missile damage in Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan.
German military assistance was offered by Foreign Minster Hans-Dietrich Genscher during his visit to Jerusalem last month.
Genscher, in Cairo on Tuesday on another Middle East trip, reportedly told the Egyptian leadership that Bonn’s military assistance to Israel was an exception arising from its historic commitment to the security and well-being of the Jewish people.
Genscher nevertheless promised generous economic help to Egypt and said Germany would make available armored reconnaissance vehicles which are capable of detecting nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. The German foreign minister will also visit Damascus and Amman.
GERMAN FIRMS DENY SUPPLYING IRAQ
Genscher came under fire in the Bundestag for his assertion that the Palestine Liberation Organization still has a role to play in future Middle East peace negotiations despite its support of Iraq in the Gulf war.
The criticism came from the ruling Christian Democratic Union and Genscher’s own Free Democratic Party, the CDU’s junior coalition partner.
The Bonn government is especially sensitive to Israel’s security needs since Israel became a non-combatant target of Iraqi missiles.
German firms reportedly helped the Iraqis extend the range of their Scuds to reach Israel.
Several German industrial associations published advertisements in major newspapers Monday denying that any of their members were ever involved in supplying Iraq with material or technology for the manufacture of chemical weapons.
But many of the same newspapers published lists of well known German firms that allegedly helped the Iraqis improve their scuds, produce poison gas or develope their nuclear capabilities.
The Jewish community, meanwhile, joined a rising chorus of protests on television and in the press over the compliance by many German firms with the Arab boycott of Israel in order to improve their business standing in the Arab world.
The Hamburg weekly Bild am Sonntag named officials of leading companies who acknowledged that their firms gave in to Arab boycott demands.
A government spokesman said that under current law, the boycott was not illegal.