The British government is expected to close a $500 million missile purchasing agreement with Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority for a 5,000 Spike Missile order, reported London Sunday Times.
The Israeli manufacturer’s only competition for the bid is an American consortium involving Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for their Javelin missile. However, it currently appears that Rafael will win the bid since the military has expressed a preference for the Israeli missile, insisting that it has more development potential than the American Javelin, reported British sources.
Confirmation of the proposed purchase is expected to infuriate legislators within Prime Minister Tony Blair's ruling Labor Party. Last week’s governmental announcement that Britain would supply sophisticated navigation and targeting equipment for F16s, being assembled in United States for the Israeli Airforce resulted in harsh criticism by Labor legislators.
Britain imposed a de facto arms embargo on Israel in April, applying to military equipment that could be used in Israel's continuing operations in the Palestinian territories. Israel has employed F16s fighter planes in its assaults on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, regardless of its November 2000 pledge that ‘no UK-originated equipment ... are used as part of the defense force's activities in the territories’.
No European arms embargos have so far been officially imposed on Israel, although the governments of Germany and the United Kingdom are looking at Israeli arms requests with greater scrutiny, effectively suspending potential deals. Germany, whose law prohibits arms sales to regions in conflict, has put off delivery of spare parts to the Israeli Army’s Merkava tank. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )