Israel is trying to block a US-Jordanian arms deal, an Israeli diplomatic source disclosed on Saturday. The deal is for AMRAAM air-to-air missiles to be installed in Jordanian airplanes. The source said this marks the first time since signing the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan that Israel has tried to stop arms from reaching Jordan, a Tel-Aviv based paper reported Sunday.
According to Ha'Aretz, Israel's Minister of Defense Saul Mofaz and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom decided to try to sabotage the deal, fearing that if Washington sold the missiles to Jordan, it would ultimately sell them to Egypt as well. Israel is concerned at Cairo arming itself with advanced weapons.
The advanced AMRAAM missile homes on targets accurately and the Israeli defense establishment said if any other state besides Israel gets them, it would impair Israel's "qualitative edge."
An unnamed Israeli source, cited by the daily, said, "It is not healthy for such weapons to be so short a distance from Israel and it is not clear why Jordan wants them. Clearly if Jordan was attacked we would do the work for them, so there is no justification to sell them the missiles."
The deal reportedly is at an advanced stage and the American administration has already asked Congress for approval.
The report further said that Jewish organizations in Washington expressed concern over the deal to the administration and Israel asked senior congressmen to delay the transaction.
However, Israel wants to stop the deal by persuading the administration and not by activating the congress against the administration.
Moreover, the report added, Israel is also reviewing various technical possibilities to ensure that the missiles are not directed against it, or to obtain an undertaking that these weapons will not reach Egyptian hands. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )