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Israel offended over Arab criticism of its nuclear weapons

January 23, 2014 at 7:27 am

As Arab countries indicated they would be targeting Israel by proposing a non-binding resolution at the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during the annual meeting to be held in September, Israel has embraced the usual victimised stance. Ehud Azoulay, Israel’s ambassador to the IEAE declared the initiative as ‘a counterproductive route’ and accused Arab countries of ‘trying to bash Israel’.

Arab states are calling upon the IAEA to ensure that ‘Israel places all its nuclear installations under agency safeguards and accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’. Israel remains committed in its refusal to sign up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, shielding itself by ambiguous statements regarding its possession of nuclear weapons and maintaining continuous pressure on Iran to adhere to nuclear disarmament.

Security concerns have now been expanded to the whole region, with Israel citing the political turmoil in the Middle East as ‘not conducive to such a conference now’. The main issues – ‘security concerns’ and ‘the region’ are used in a debatable manner by Israel. While striving to maintain supremacy in the Middle East, Israel conveniently and precisely distances itself through its rhetoric in order to shift blame upon neighbouring Arab countries.  The constant accusation of ‘threats to Israel’s security’ accentuates a deeper reality – Israel’s existence benefits from political turmoil and instability, a fact proven by Israel’s commitment to export its own repression techniques elsewhere in the world.

Diverting attention towards Iran’s nuclear programme in order to evade scrutiny remains a tactic wholly supported by the US, despite a widely held belief that Israel possesses the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal. Iran has become the allies’ scapegoat, absolving both the US and Israel of their own discarded responsibilities to ensure the banning of nuclear weapons. US knowledge of Israel’s nuclear programme spans decades, with documents released by the US National Security Archive revealing that the CIA and US embassies in Tel Aviv and Argentina had confirmed the sale of uranium to Israel – an agreement which materialised after France restricted its uranium supply to the occupying state.

The US favoured non-confrontation and expanded its stance globally. An international conference planned by Egypt in 2010 and scheduled for December 2012 to discuss the possibilities of the Middle East as a region free of mass destruction weapons was called off by the US, one of the co-sponsors of the meeting. Regurgitating misplaced rhetoric, both Israel and the US stated that a nuclear weapon free region was impossible unless Arab-Israeli peace was achieved, and Iran abandons its nuclear programme. There is no mention of the fact that Iran has allowed nuclear inspectors in their facilities, something which Israel refuses to allow. Neither are the threats to Arab-Israeli peace discussed – amongst them Israel’s self-imposed supremacy, its nuclear programme, as well as its prolonged occupation of Palestine which has created repercussions within the whole region.

If Israel and the US consider the Arab countries’ stance as counterproductive and targeting Israel for blame, both countries should analyse the implications of their statements, keeping in mind that any hindrance to a nuclear free Middle East does not come from pushing for resolutions, but the covert dynamics which favour continuous turmoil in the region in order to guarantee Israel’s impunity. 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.