West Germany secretly funded the development of Israel’s nuclear weapons, a German newspaper has claimed, despite Israeli denials.
Welt newspaper repeated long-standing allegations that the government of former chancellor Konrad Adenauer secretly channelled hundreds of millions of dollars into Israel’s nuclear programme in the 1960s.
The newspaper insisted the claims were true, despite a categorical denial earlier this month from Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president, who was in charge of the nuclear weapons project at the time.
In a detailed report, Welt claimed the funds were disguised as a $500 million (£338 million) loan for the development of the Negev desert.
The arrangement was agreed at a meeting between Mr Adenauer and David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli prime minister, in New York in 1960, the newspaper claimed.
The agreement was informal and was never scrutinised by the West German cabinet or parliament.
It was known as “Aktion Geschäftsfreund”, or “Operation Business Associate” by the West German foreign ministry.
The funds were channelled to Israel through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, a government-owned development bank.
The bank has declined to release details of its payments to Israel under the programme.
Photo: Channel 10/AP