German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday that Israel has armed German-built and supplied submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
Despite official denials, the German government has had knowledge of Israeli nuclear capabilities for decades.
Israel has purchased three Dolphin class submarines built at the HDW shipyard in Kiel, with three more to come by 2017.
Germany is financing one-third of the cost of the submarines as well as allowing a deferment of the rest of the payment until 2015. According to the report, Israel in exchange must stop its expansionist settlement practices and permit the completion of a sewage treatment facility in the Gaza Strip, which is partially financed with German money. To date, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has complied with none of the conditions.
The German government has always denied knowledge of the use of nuclear weapons on the submarines, but former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of planning staff for the German Defense Ministry Hans Rühle told the German magazine that there had always been an understanding the submarines were being armed with nuclear weapons.
Israel has always refused to comment on the existence of nuclear weapons in the country, but is widely believed to possess a substantial nuclear arsenal.
Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry prove that Germany has had knowledge of the weapons since 1961 at the latest. According to the archives, then-German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and then-Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan spoke about the existence an Israeli nuclear weapons program in 1977.