Israel Continues to Stonewall Arab States About Its Nukes

International Atomic Energy flag

International Atomic Energy flag

Double standards can only be endured, as well as enforced, for so long. Eighteen Arab member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote a letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano to request that “Israeli nuclear capabilities” be included on the agenda of the 57th IAEA General Conference to be held Sept. 16-20 in Vienna. As Reuters reported

The IAEA meeting “must take appropriate measures to ensure that Israel places all its nuclear installations under agency safeguards and accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” the letter, dated in June, said.

By way of background:

An Egyptian plan for an international meeting to lay the groundwork for creating a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction was agreed [to] at an NPT review conference in 2010.

Predictably, Israel objected to the letter.

Israel’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ehud Azoulay, told Reuters that Arab states “are taking a counterproductive route by raising this issue … and trying to bash Israel”. [He also said] “the atmosphere in the Middle East” was not conducive to such a conference now.

Or as Azoulay put in all his disingenuous glory in a letter to Amano on July 15 (posted by Dan Joyner at Arms Control Law):

Putting aside the ill motivation of those who put forth this request, the 57th Agenda will face a pressing agenda, including nuclear safety and security, IAEA safeguards, technical cooperation, budgetary issues and more. On top of all these important issues, the growing threat posed by Iran’s military nuclear program overshadows the GC.

The complaint that the agenda is already full is petty at best. And did we really think we could escape without him playing the Iran card? Most insulting, though, he writes

The most significant threats to the non-proliferation regime are those posed by states from the Middle East that are pursuing weapons under the cover of their NPT membership.

Bear in mind, of course, that Israel not only never signed the NPT, but has never publicly acknowledged the existence of its nuclear-weapons program, aka, the world’s worst-kept secret. Even if you believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons (which it almost certainly isn’t), in what world is Israel, by refusing to speak about its nukes, acting in better faith than a state such as Iran?

Dan Joyner himself writes:

I totally understand why Israel wants to have nuclear weapons, doesn’t want to sign the [nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], and wants to keep the whole thing “in the basement.” If I were an Israeli official, with the history of the Holocaust as my personal and national context, I would do the exact same thing. But … when they criticize other countries for wanting their own nuclear weapons, or for even doing research to build up their capability to one day acquire nuclear weapons if they decide they need them [it] doesn’t have anything to do with history, or with Israel’s unique perspective on the world. … This is just basic hypocrisy, and the absence of any principled leg to stand on.

  • dubinsky

    of course, Israel isn’t answerable to the Arab states and has no NPT obligations, but don’t tell Wellen. he might get collicky.