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Israel folding military deals with China under U.S. pressure


TEL AVIV, June 26 (RIA Novosti, Ratmir Orestov) - The Israeli leadership agreed to meet U.S. demands as regards military deals with China, the Haaretz newspaper said. According to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's instruction, an Israeli delegation is to head for Washington today to finally settle the problem. A bilateral memorandum on arms export will be signed.

Israel sold to China some modern weapons and military technology, which, the U.S. said, had been done behind the Pentagon's back. Harpy unmanned aerial vehicles capable of detecting and destroying enemy radars were among them.

Since 1980s, Israel has sold to China weapons and military equipment worth several billion dollars. Demanding from Tel Aviv explanations on most deals, Washington removed Israel from work to develop the new generation aircraft, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, froze cooperation in producing the Hunter II UAV, and stopped delivery of parts for night vision devices for Israeli Armed Forces. The U.S. also demanded that some top officials in the Israeli Defense Ministry resign.

According to the Haaretz, Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz agreed to fold cooperation with Beijing on Harpy delivery and modernization, and to create a new armament export control system.

Israeli Defense Ministry Director General Amos Yaron, with whom the Pentagon refuses to deal with, said he would resign soon.

According to the decision, Israel will not return Harpy components that are undergoing maintenance work to China, despite that it would have to pay big compensations for such a step, the Haaretz wrote.

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