Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), a member of Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, is reportedly opposed to arming with precision missiles the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that Israel is selling Germany. Consequently the German parliament is likely to vote against that clause in the deal, which is worth tens of millions of euros.
In 2018, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) and Airbus signed an agreement worth $600 million to lease Heron TP drones to the German Ministry of Defense. The entire deal had previously been blocked by SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel. He was replaced by Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans who agreed to the deal with the issue of arming the UAVs to be decided at a later date.
The German parliament is due to vote on the matter next week on December 16 and German Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz, a member of the SDP, told "Globes" that, "Nobody has a problem about procuring Israel weapons."
Despite that in recent weeks, there has been growing disquiet in the SDP about arming the UAVs, which are seen by many as too 'easy to use' and liable to hurt innocent people.
Walter-Borjans said, "Together with a large section of the members of the party and other groups in German society involved in promoting peace policies, I do not see in the discussion so far about arming the UAVs any sufficient justification."
He added, "There is a thin line between protecting life and killing using a joystick."
At present German air force officers are undergoing training on the unarmed UAVs at Tel Nof air base in Israel.
With German elections due next year, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is unlikely to antagonize its SDP coalition partner over this matter for the time being.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 8, 2020
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