News :: General

IDF choppers in service of drug cartel

American officials demand Israel provide explanations for how
U.S.-made choppers sold to Israel ended up in service of Columbian
drug cartel. Incident may cloud relations between countries.
14 November 2005

Another diplomatic incident threatens to taint U.S.-Israeli
relations: The American government has recently demanded Israel([search])
clarify how five U.S.-made helicopters sold to Israel in the mid-70s
found their way into the hands of a Columbian drug cartel.

An U.S. embassy official met with an Israeli foreign ministry
official in Jerusalem several days ago, where he informed him that
the American Foreign Ministry has requested the embassy to launch an
investigation into the matter.

According to American sources, the military copters currently serve
the drug mafia in the South American country.

Top diplomatic sources fear that this incident will once again
heat-up tensions between Israel and the U.S. and cloud the strategic
dialogue between the two countries, which is scheduled to renew in
November, after talks were suspended for more than a

Kosher deal went sour

The dubious affair, which was already investigated by the Israeli
Defense Ministry, and later turned over to the hands of the police,
was uncovered about two years ago.

Investigators revealed that the Defense Ministry signed a deal with
an Israeli company three years ago, contracting it to negotiate the
sale of five IAF helicopters for a sum of USD 100,000 per aircraft.

The ministry permitted the choppers, of a MD 500 Defender model, be
sold either to the Mexican federal police, or to the Spain
firefighters department. However, contrary to the terms of the
license, the copters ended up in Columbia, by way of Canadian

A Defense Ministry spokeswoman said in response that "after
suspicions were raised that an illicit exchange took place, the
ministry launched an initial investigation into the matter last

"According to instructions of the chief prosecutor, the case was
handed over to the police in 2004," she added.

Sources at the Defense Ministry refused to comment on the matter.

Itamar Eichner writes for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's leading

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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