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So is Israel part of the "nuclear-free" Middle East?

I stumbled upon this video yesterday about that sticky question of Israeli nukes. Given Netanyahu’s recent appearances in the United States and the atmosphere of friendship between Israel and the US, I thought it would be a nice video to post. So, is Israel part of a nuclear free Middle East? Does it matter if they are or are not?

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    1. Morten - Norway

      we are supposed to believe these hypocrites and liers? Ye right!

      How sovereign is the US when this is such a problematic question.

      Please enlighten everyone about Vanunu. He has given up his Israeli passport, he was refused to travel after his sentence was done, something that is strictly illegal.

      But the way israel and the US want to control this information by suppressing it, like always.

      But its not possible for the israeli “democracy”/fearocracy to control its population any longer.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Abbie

      As an american I can assure you that the hypocrisy of Israel having nukes simply never comes up. Ever.

      Reply to Comment
    3. abban aziz

      as an american i can assure you most us understand why the jews of all people are entitled to nuclear weapons (they invented them after all – hello?!) especially considering their nation is slated for annihilation what, every 10 seconds?

      if it weren’t for nuclear weapons would have israel survived the yom kippur war? probably not.

      in europe israel might not need nukes. but in the middle east a nuclear deterrent is required for peace and security.

      and most americans don’t see israel as an irrational state. unlike say, syria, iran, hezbollah etc…

      as long as the arab states know their capitals could be wiped out if they threatened israel’s security then there will be peace. we all know how the muslim states have no problem sabotaging their economies and militaries and civilians in wartime. egypt lost thousands in yemen and in gaza/sinai. but a nuclear bomb could utterly destroy their government. their power.

      that scares them.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Piotr Berman

      I seriously doubt rationality of Israel. Slated for annihilation “what, every 10 seconds”? Have you ever hear about delusions of grandeur and paranoia?

      “that scares them”

      So why is Israel pursuing Iron Dome?

      The problem is that Israel chooses to be always at war, always afraid, so no border can be sufficient, no amount of weapon systems can be sufficient and…

      the military concentrates training on tear gas marksmanship, martial arts like breakig wrists of old ladies, demolishion actions against tents and sheds and other stuff which is curiously unhelpful when the opponent is as well armed as Hezbollah (meaning, a bit more than a bunch of rifles).

      Reply to Comment
    5. abban aziz

      “delusions of grandeur and paranoia.”

      Hmmm. Okay.

      What ally of Israel is surrounded by two terrorist organizations? How many rockets are pointed at USA, Britain, or France? Do Americans know where their nearest bomb shelter is? Israeli’s do.

      I can’t think of a more rational government than Israel. I doubt any of Israel’s critics – Western specifically – would tolerate half of what Israel does. USA destroys nations for less than what Israel deals with.

      Can you imagine the fallout of a single Al Qaeda rocket hitting US soil? We bombed Pakistan in response to A FAILED BOMB plot in New York. Failed. That’s how Obama deals with terrorism.

      Netanyahu negotiates away…

      Reply to Comment
    6. Philip

      this is all a bit silly isn’t it?
      Going up to Senators and asking them if they know that Israel has nuclear weapons? really?
      There’s PLENTY wrong with israel, as this blog clearly shows. Its foreign policy towards its nearest neighbour, the Palestinians, has given new meaning to the word ‘myopia’.

      But you can’t tar Israel with incompetence or capriciousness on all levels. It doesn’t work.
      The world agrees, on principle, that nuclear disarmament is a desirable goal. The Americans would probably say that yes, it would be better if Israel did not have nuclear weapons, just like it would be better if China, or Russia, or America or ANYONE did not have nuclear weapons. But this is the world we live in, it’s the one we have to deal with. There are a few number of nuclear states, and if we agree that it is desirable in the long-term for there to be nuclear disarmament, we can surely agree that in the immediate term we must make sure that the number of nuclear states does not grow.

      The reason the US won’t encourage Israel to join the NPT is that, ultimately, when it comes to nuclear weapons, Israel acts responsibly. By that mean Israel has had nuclear weapons for decades, and has acted cautiously and with restraint, and that is why there has NOT been nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
      Israel’s nuclear weapons program is NOT an issue of proliferation, which is different from questions of environmental harm and safety.
      Israel does not gloat about its nuclear weapons, it does not test them, it does not threaten to use them, it does not threaten to wipe other countries off the map.

      This demonstrates responsible conduct of international affairs. So yes, the existence of nuclear weapons sucks, and consequently, Israel having nukes sucks as well.But it appears that, so long as Israel is prepared to act responsibly vis-a-vis its nuclear powers, it is a situation the US (and, if we are honest, Europe as well)is prepared to live with.

      Reply to Comment
    7. max

      Philip, thanks for introducing common sense to the forum!

      Reply to Comment
    8. Piotr Berman

      Perhaps I should elaborate.

      Delusion of grandeour: “We Jews invented nuclear weapons.” And Heisenberg principle as we are at it. Plus, “who are we, keno sabe”? Einstein opposed Zionism, Rosenberg was probably a Communist, never heard anything about the views of von Neuman, Teller was perhaps a Zionist, or just a wingnut — at those times the two were not exactly going together. Working for the Manhattan project did not confer any “rights to the bomb” to the participants, otherwise who could begrudge Rosenberg sharing the discoveries with fellow Communists?

      Paranoia: what is the manpower and weaponry of the two dreaded terror organizations? It is a bit like USA in danger of pincer attack from Canada and Nicaragua (and yes, the specter of Nicaraguan menace was peddled 20 years ago, but this was also paranoia, probably simulated one). Ortega hordes could start moving north toppling regimes and gathering radicals as they go and eventually, together with epigons of Pancho Villa, they took take over Yuma and El Paso! Hezbollah threat is of similar caliber.

      One reason that Israeli know where the shelters are is because the ruling elite likes the paranoia. Otherwise it is quite simple to avoid escalation in conflicts and eliminate “dreaded missiles” on civilian targets. For example, during the “war” with Hezbollah one could try a tactic of bombing only the sites that have some military value to Hezbollah as long as they restrict their fire in a similar manner. It could actually be more effective in military terms.

      But this is the point: because Hezbollah and Hamas are relatively powerless, IDF does not care to be more or less effective. As long as they destroy SOMETHING, and the population is sufficiently awed by the action, it is OK. At least, that seems to be the plan. If IDF generals are genetically related to Einstein, von Neumann, Rosenberg etc., they hide that fact.

      Reply to Comment
    9. David

      On a cold dark night, surrounded by jackals, it is always good to have a good strong fire going.

      Reply to Comment
    10. abban aziz

      @Berman

      This seems to be a common topic of anti-Israel haters. Once you cannot respond to a series of facts that destroy your narrow world view, you move on to a new series of lies to continue the debate.

      For example, “Einstein opposed Zionism.”

      Eh, wrong. Einstein was an ardent Zionist. He supported Zionism before it became part of mainstream Jewish thought.

      Reply to Comment
    11. max

      Einstein opposed military nationalism. He favored Zionism enough to leave in his will his personal papers and the intellectual copyright to them, as well as the right to use his image to the Hebrew University In Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    12. max

      @Piotr – Mr. Military Expert, how much do you charge for your offshore consulting?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Piotr Berman

      Well, if Einstein opposed “military Zionism”, he was not a proponent of a nuclear bomb for the Jewish state. Political and religious views of Einstein were somewhat too subtle to be easily labeled, but it is easier to support “One state solution” with quotes of Einstein that contemporary Zionism. He positively loathed Revisionist Zionism.

      Wiki: In a 1938 speech, “Our Debt to Zionism”, he said: “I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain—especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state. … If external necessity should after all compel us to assume this burden, let us bear it with tact and patience.”[24]

      Max: so how much military threat do Hezbollah and Hamas represent? What fraction of CONVENTIONAL Israeli forces should be sufficient to counteract them?

      Besides, the main mission of IDF is projecting the national pride and dignity of the Jewish people with assorted petty harassments in Area C, a project that is quite closely coordinated with valiant citizens a.k.a. settlers. Had Israeli truly believe in a danger, they would change priorities.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Piotr Berman

      “How many rockets are pointed at USA, Britain, or France?”

      I almost spilled my tea all over the keyboard. “Just a few thousands ICBMs, nothing to worry about”.

      Reply to Comment
    15. abban Aziz

      “Just a few thousands ICBMs, nothing to worry about”.”

      Do you know where your nearest bomb shelter is Piotr? When is the last time you witnessed a terrorist attack? How many terrorist groups are camped outside our borders?

      Israel faces real threats that none of its Western critics have to deal with. And if faced with similar threats we wouldn’t bother with some peace process.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Y.

      It is a staple of intl. law that countries which sign into agreement are bound by them, while are not bound by agreements which they did not sign. Israel is not a signatory of the NPT, and therefor has the sovereign right is allowed to do as it pleases in this area, including having nuclear weapons. On the other hand, all the other states in the area are signatories and are therefor bound by the treaty not to develop nuclear weapons. (In fairness, the treaty is discriminatory in that it allows some states to have nukes and not others – but that’s a good reason not to sign it in the first place, not a release from obligation incurred once signed).

      Reply to Comment
    17. max

      The reason countries sign the NPT knowing they won’t keep their obligations is to get the info and support. The deal is: you get the info but may not use it for military aims.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Koshiro

      Right. So if Iran just withdrew from the NPT (which is possible on short notice; look it up) and openly stated that it was going to build nuclear weapons, you would just shrug and say “Oh, okay then! Whatever floats your boat.”

      Yeah. Probably not, eh?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Koshiro

      “The reason the US won’t encourage Israel to join the NPT is that, ultimately, when it comes to nuclear weapons, Israel acts responsibly.”
      Like when they sold nuclear technology to Apartheid South Africa, you mean?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Y.

      Honestly, I’m not too pleased with Iran having nukes, but don’t think it’s a terrible terrible threat either.
      .
      Iran has already violated the NPT, so talking about a would-be recantation is not that relevant. That said, I doubt Iran would recant the NPT – they can’t afford giving up technical assistance and declaring openly they will develop nukes will actually invite more pressure than just violating the treaty.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Y.

      “Like when they sold nuclear technology to Apartheid South Africa, you mean?”

      Avner Cohn (topmost historian of the program) has sharply rejected this notion.

      Reply to Comment
    22. abban Aziz

      “Like when they sold nuclear technology to Apartheid South Africa, you mean?”

      this was debunked long ago.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Koshiro

      “Avner Cohn (topmost historian of the program) has sharply rejected this notion.”
      Nope.
      What he has rejected (rather unconvincingly IMHO, but that is neither here or there) is that Israel directly provided nuclear weapons to South Africa, mostly in his answer to a number of papers published by the Guardian.
      That Israel provided nuclear assistance (for example by selling tritium to SA) is undisputed.
      Of course the relation was a mutual one, with Israel buying uranium from their Apartheid ally.

      Reply to Comment
    24. abban Aziza

      @Koshiro

      Israel didn’t sell nuclear tech to apartheid south africa.

      israel’s relationship with south africa was irrelevant compared to the muslim states relationship.

      but that of course is ignored. guilt by association is exclusive to israel.

      and the guardian is a joke.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Danny

      Three words: AIPAC, AIPAC and AIPAC. ‘Nuff said.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Piotr Berman

      Abban Aziz
      “Just a few thousands ICBMs, nothing to worry about”.”
      Do you know where your nearest bomb shelter is Piotr? When is the last time you witnessed a terrorist attack? How many terrorist groups are camped outside our borders?

      I grew up knowing that the basement of my apartment building has a bomb shelter. As a student, we had “civil defense” classes and we we computing “zones of destruction”: zone 1, concrete crumbles, metal melts, zone 2, shock wave flattens everything, zone 3, firestorms, zone 4, 75-100% survival rate in improvised shelters, more than 50% of structures remains upright, widespread fires. So 10 km from ground zero of 2 megaton blast we have some prayer to survive. But it did not look too good: shlepping around among radioactive fallout was discouraged, so you should wait for evacuation vehicles, assuming that there would be enough of surviving vehicles, road and drivers willing to drive into the heart of the radioactive zone.

      Israel faces real threats that none of its Western critics have to deal with. And if faced with similar threats we wouldn’t bother with some peace process.

      To the contrary, Israel suffers from a combination of complacency and paranoia. Terrorism in Western Europe was quite well known, e.g. IRA in UK, ETA in Spain etc. If you add Russia and India to the critics of Israel, then you can see countries affected by terror to a similar degree. They have nukes, but this is quite unrelated. Nukes are basically useless as weapons.

      If Israeli would genuinely feel threatened, they would think differently about peace.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Koshiro

      “Israel didn’t sell nuclear tech to apartheid south africa.”
      You mean they gave it away for free? Because, as I said, it’s undisputed. You can look up details on the tritium deal in Israeli newspapers.

      Reply to Comment
    28. abban Aziz

      “To the contrary, Israel suffers from a combination of complacency and paranoia. Terrorism in Western Europe was quite well known, e.g. IRA in UK, ETA in Spain etc. If you add Russia and India to the critics of Israel, then you can see countries.”

      Are you kidding me? IRA, ETA, etc…are jokers compared to Hezbollah and Hamas. There is no Taliban army camped outside London, D.C, New York, Moscow, etc…with 15,000 missiles (real missiles, not fake NY bomb plots) that can destroy whole buildings.

      You are debased from reality if you think Israel is the nation that is paranoid. Coming from the US that has invaded what – every continent known to man? Murdered millions of civilians? And russia – wow, they’re so moral – demolishing Chechnya, killing 100,000. And the Muslim states, man they’re great…Turkey kills 25,000 Kurds, Saudis killed 8,000 Yemenis in 2008. Hell, Obama killing thousands in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, etc..over FAILED bomb plots in the US.

      Israel faces more terror threats than any of its critics. And most of the US counter-terrorism strategies are based on Israeli war experience.

      LOL. Up your meds.

      Reply to Comment
    29. abban Aziz

      oh yeah, and while Israel’s allies demand it negotiate and make peace with cold-blooded murderers, they actively bomb nations thousands of miles away from their homeland in “self-defense” or to “protect civilians” (Libya anyone?)

      Talk about hypocrisy! Who is paranoid really. Americans are.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Koshiro

      “You are debased from reality if you think Israel is the nation that is paranoid. Coming from the US that has invaded what – every continent known to man? Murdered millions of civilians?”
      “Who is paranoid really. Americans are.”

      Please, by all means continue with this kind of comment.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Piotr Berman

      Americans are, quite characteristically, most sympathetic to Israel, although that can be attributed to their lack of familiarity with anti-American hatred so often expressed by folks like Abban Aziz (who incorrectly guesses that I am from USA).

      On the other hand, “pro-Israeli” crowd is totally incapable of logical thinking. And of figuring why Israel is unique. Take the case of Russia and Chechnya, and compare with Israel and Gaza. First, while there is no Taliban in Gaza and Chechnya, one can quickly check that Chechen “resistance” are not jokers, at least no in an ordinary sense of the word. Second, Russia never denied Chechens citizenship, the right of moving around the country, or resort to such favorite Israeli shit like systematic denial of building permits. Grozny was destroyed not for the entertainment of Russian public, but during a fight with actual armed and bloody resistance. Gaza was destroyed with hardly any armed resistance.

      Most tellingly, Russians contributed billions to the rebuilding of Grozny and other places in Chechnya, because they want to decrease and defuse the threat, rather than to engage in revenge and toughness to the public satisfaction. There is no other place in the world where “security” would be “enhanced” by denial construction materials to the subjugated people (not to mention coriander and pasta, some friendly commentators think that Israeli are insane).

      When you compare what Israel does in Lebanon (not much) and in Gaza and West Bank, one can see that actual paranoia improves behavior. Perhaps Hezbollah have 15,000 of crappy missiles, or perhaps 50,000 of decent missiles, it is not worthwhile to find out by performing more assassinations in Lebanon. Or by destroying some fields with tanks as yesterday in Gaza.

      But in Gaza and West Bank there is no threat, so Israeli can engage in a favorite pastime, which is making shit to Palestinians. There are no negative consequences (at least today, who cares about tomorrow) and it feels so good.

      Reply to Comment
    32. abban aziz

      yawn.

      Reply to Comment
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