Nuclear Offer to Apartheid Regime Blows Diplomatic Cover Israel’s Nukes Out of the Shadows
By JONATHAN COOK
Counterpunch, 26 May 2010
Nazareth. Israel 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.