Nuclear Offer to Apartheid Regime Blows Diplomatic Cover
Israel's Nukes Out of the Shadows
By Jonathan Cook

Mordechai Vanunu, a technician at the Dimona nuclear energy plant in the Negev, provided photographic evidence and detailed descriptions of the country’s weapons programme in 1986. Today the Israeli arsenal is estimated at more than 200 warheads.

Israel offered their apartheid dopplegangers nuclear, biologival and chemical WMDsIsrael faces unprecedented pressure to abandon its official policy of “ambiguity” on its possession of nuclear weapons as the international community meets at the United Nations in New York this week to consider banning such arsenals from the Middle East.

Israel’s equivocal stance on its atomic status was shattered by reports on Monday that it offered to sell nuclear-armed Jericho missiles to South Africa’s apartheid regime back in 1975.

The revelations are deeply embarrassing to Israel given its long-standing opposition to signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, arguing instead that it is a “responsible power” that would never misuse nuclear weapons technologies if it acquired them.

Reports of Israel’s nuclear dealings with apartheid South Africa will also energise a draft proposal from Egypt to the UN non-proliferation review conference that Israel - as the only nuclear power in the region - be required to sign the treaty.

Israeli officials are already said to be discomfited by Washington’s decision earlier this month to agree a statement with other UN Security Council members calling for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear arms.

The policy is chiefly aimed at Iran, which is believed by the US and Israel to be secretly developing a nuclear bomb, but would also risk ensnaring Israel. The US has supported Israel’s ambiguity policy since the late 1960s...

Israel refused to sign the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, having developed its first warhead a few years earlier with help from Britain and France...

Mordechai Vanunu is in an Israeli prison, his 24th year in detention in Israel, for revealing Israel's nuclear arsenalMordechai Vanunu, a technician at the Dimona nuclear energy plant in the Negev, provided photographic evidence and detailed descriptions of the country’s weapons programme in 1986. Today the Israeli arsenal is estimated at more than 200 warheads.

...top-secret papers reveal that in 1975 Mr Peres, then Israel’s defence minister, met with his South African counterpart, P W Botha, to discuss selling the regime nuclear-armed missiles. The deal fell through partly because South Africa could not afford the weapons. Pretoria later developed its own bomb, almost certainly with Israel’s help...

The last Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, five years ago, failed when the US repudiated pledges to disarm and refused to pressure Israel over its nuclear programme.

Full article at Counterpunch 26 May 2010

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net

Coming events

loader

Visit our eShop

Israel and Settler Society by Lorenzo Veracini

The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.

Mondoweiss

BDSmovement