Thursday, 3 October 2013

Israel's forgetful Prime Minister

While Israel’s current Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has a lot to say about what Israel considers is a militarization of Iran’s nuclear programme,  he has nothing to say about Israel’s own nuclear arsenal (“Don’t trust Iran’s smiles, Netanyahu warns Obama,” Sept 30)

In its edition of 5 October 1986, your sister Sunday  paper The Sunday Times ran a world exclusive story on its front page under the headline "Revealed: the secrets of Israel's nuclear arsenal." One outcome of that sensational diplomatic revelation was the source, Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai  Vanunu, was kidnapped by the Israeli secret service in Rome, tried, and sentenced to 18 years in prison for treason and espionage, mostly spent in solitary confinement.
As such a charge could not be substantiated unless the revelations were true, this effectively confirmed the existence of Israel as the only national nuclear power in the middle east.
Addressing the UN General Assembly last Saturday (Sept 28), Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, called on the five permanent members of the Security Council to support the idea of a Middle East free of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
It turns out, the Israeli Government has actually already agreed to such talks.
 At the completely overlooked Paris Summit of Mediterranean countries, held on 13 July 2008, under the co-presidency of the French Republic and the Arab Republic of Egypt and in the presence of Israel, which was represented by its then Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, the issue of peace within the region were explored in depth, and the final declaration stated the participants were  in favour of:

"regional security by acting in favor of nuclear, chemical and biological non-proliferation through adherence to and compliance with a combination of international and regional nonproliferation regimes and arms control and disarmament agreements.."

The final document goes on to say: "The parties shall pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems. Furthermore the parties will consider practical steps to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as excessive accumulation of conventional arms "

Surely Mr Netanyahu would do better for the nation he leads if he would see  the positive benefits of such a strategy, which his predecessor  prime minister perceived, than always looking for reasons to keep regional tensions and insecurities high.

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