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U.S.-Israel crisis deepens over defense exports to China

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    U.S.-Israel crisis deepens over defense exports to China By Ze ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondent July 27, 2005 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/605342.html
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2005
      U.S.-Israel crisis deepens over defense exports to China
      By Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondent
      July 27, 2005

      The U.S. administration has refused to rescind sanctions against
      Israel until the latter proves it has increased its monitoring of
      security-related exports, deepening the crisis between the two countries.

      Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who was about to leave for Washington
      for talks on the matter, canceled the trip following the increased
      U.S. demands.

      The crisis erupted over Israel's sale to China of replacement parts
      for Harpy attack drones.

      The U.S. wants to see Knesset legislation enacted within 18 months
      tightening oversight of military exports, and is demanding a
      memorandum of understanding be signed. The U.S. also wants a written
      apology from Israel and Mofaz.

      Opposition in Israel is mounting against the signing of such a
      memorandum. In any case, the agreement is not intended to end the
      crisis, but rather to stop it from gathering steam, by allowing for
      the gradual lifting of sanctions.

      The sanctions were imposed as the result of a bill passed last month
      by the U.S. House of Representatives, which placed a five-year ban on
      the purchase of defense items from any country that sells arms to China.

      Israel sold China the drones, which are said to attack and destroy
      enemy radar transmitters, in the mid-1990s. It says that it is now
      upgrading them as provided for in the sales agreement.

      Israel believed the tension between the two countries was going to
      subside after Mofaz went to Washington to sign the understanding, in
      which Israel agreed to meet most of the U.S. demands. However, the
      harsher demands are an indirect way of rejecting a request by Mofaz to
      end the crisis and rescind the penalties, which could do serious harm
      to Israel's defense industries and air force.

      After Israel raised a white flag and acquiesced to most of the
      demands, the U.S. made additional, harsher demands, and was said to
      have shown contempt for the Israeli delegation. The American
      delegation is headed by Lisa Bronson from the Pentagon, and also
      includes a representative from the State Department, the head of its
      Bureau for Political-Military Affairs, Acting Assistant Secretary Rose
      Likins, who is the principal link between the departments of
      state and defense. Likins had recently met with Mofaz in Israel.

      The draft referendum points to a lack of understanding on the part of
      the U.S. of domestic political affairs in Israel. It is a strange
      agreement, by which Israel agrees to the continued sanctions the
      Americans are imposing.

      The article in the agreement putting pressure on the Knesset to enact
      a law monitoring military exports is sure to arouse the ire of several
      of Israel's lawmakers.

      The Americans are said to be angry at the media reports that appear
      every time the Israeli delegation has been about to leave for talks in
      the U.S. The Americans understand the talks to be Defense Ministry
      briefings, while in Israel they were reported as bringing about an end
      to the crisis over the Israel-China drone parts deal.



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