Israel and the USA have finalised a memorandum of understanding that will provide the basis for new legislation to limit the export of sensitive Israeli defence technologies that could harm Washington’s global position. The agreement was signed by Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon on 16 August, and a law will be passed in the national parliament late this year to confirm the revised sales framework.

Industry sources say this will place “heavy restrictions” on Israel’s ability to export defence systems and technologies and will effectively close the Chinese market to its companies. “They not only bent our arm, they broke it,” says one source.

The new restrictions were demanded by the USA after it accused Israel’s defence ministry of providing false information about a deal under which Israel Aircraft Industries was to upgrade Harpy anti-radiation unmanned air vehicles for China. Washington has demanded that the Israeli defence ministry inform it of any plan to sell defence systems to a number of listed countries, which sources say includes China and India. The agreement is believed to outline that all future export licences be issued by a joint team from Israel’s defence and commerce ministries.

  •  Israeli defence ministry director general Amos Yaron is to leave office within the next few months.


Source: Flight International