Terrorism by Nuclear Threat (Israeli)

various news and views

06/03/2012

Secret Cooperation Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built Submarines

The Dolphin class submarines are built for Israel in a shipyard in Kiel (March 2012 photo).Zoom

dapd

The Dolphin class submarines are built for Israel in a shipyard in Kiel (March 2012 photo).

A German shipyard has already built three submarines for Israel, and three more are planned. Now SPIEGEL has learned that Israel is arming the submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The German government has known about Israel’s nuclear weapons program for decades, despite its official denials.

Germany is helping Israel to develop its military nuclear capabilities, SPIEGEL has learned. According to extensive research carried out by the magazine, Israel is equipping submarines that were built in the northern German city of Kiel and largely paid for by the German government with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The missiles can be launched using a previously secret hydraulic ejection system. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told SPIEGEL that Germans should be “proud” that they have secured the existence of the state of Israel “for many years.”

In the past, the German government has always stuck to the position that it is unaware of nuclear weapons being deployed on the vessels. Now, however, former high-ranking officials from the German Defense Ministry, including former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue with the military in Tel Aviv.Israel has a policy of not commenting officially on its nuclear weapons program. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry make it clear, however, that the German government has known about the program since 1961. The last discussion for which there is evidence took place in 1977, when then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt spoke to then-Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan about the issue.

The submarines are built by the German shipyard HDW in Kiel. Three submarines have already been delivered to Israel, and three more will be delivered by 2017. In addition, Israel is considering ordering its seventh, eighth and ninth submarines from Germany.

The German government recently signed the contract for the delivery of the sixth vessel. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Chancellor Angela Merkel made substantial concessions to the Israelis. Not only is Berlin financing one-third of the cost of the submarine, around €135 million ($168 million), but it is also allowing Israel to defer its payment until 2015.

Merkel had tied the delivery of the sixth submarine to a number of conditions, including a demand that Israel stop its expansionist settlement policy and allow the completion of a sewage treatment plant in the Gaza Strip, which is partially financed with German money. So far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met none of the terms.

Check back on SPIEGEL International on Monday for the full English-language version of SPIEGEL’s cover story on Germany’s cooperation with Israel over its submarine program.

dgs/SPIEGEL

Israeli nuclear theft from USA from a formerly classified document

http://www.scribd.com/doc/31504175/Israeli-nuclear-theft-from-USA-formerly-classified-document

Israel steals weapons-grade uranium from United States

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu abruptly cancelled his plans to attend President Barack Obama’s nuclear security of 12-13 April, “creating an embarrassing distraction on the eve of a high-profile meeting the White House has sought to carefully choreograph”, according to Politico.

“An Israeli official confirmed Netanyahu’s decision not to attend, which was revealed by Israeli media outlets” on the afternoon of 8 April, just four days before the summit was due to start.

According to Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan,

“… Netanyahu’s staff said he decided not to come because reports had reached the prime minister that Arab states attending the summit would attempt to “embarrass” Israel over its defiance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its construction hundreds of nuclear warheads. Instead, deputy PM Dan Meridor will attend. Israel’s nuclear arsenal was a primary impetus to the Iraqi nuclear research program in the 1980s, which in turn alarmed Iran and sparked Tehran’s interest in acquiring at least the knowledge of how to enrich uranium. That is, Israel (and its enablers, France and Britain) kicked off the present nuclear crisis in the region, and Arab and Muslim states in attendance would be unlikely to allow Netanyahu to forget it…

“Thus, some observers believe that Netanyahu is playing hooky largely to avoid more pressure to take steps to restart peace negotiations. There are even rumors that Washington might put forward its own peace plan and then attempt to twist the arms of the Israelis and Palestinians to agree to it, and some observers suspect that Netanyahu was trying to avoid being cornered in that way.

“But there is another possible explanation for Netanyahu staying away from a summit on nuclear security issues in Washington. It is that the Israeli prime minister is protesting a new White House policy of refusing visas to Israeli scientists, engineers and technicians who work at the Dimona Reactor/ nuclear bomb factory. Up until recently they had been free to attend technical and scientific conferences and pursue advanced classes at US universities. The visa denials were reported in the Israeli newspaper Maariv by Uri Binder on Wednesday April 7: “Nuclear Reactor Workers Not Wanted in United States.” It was translated by the USG Open Source Center. The article reports that Israeli workers at the Nuclear Research Center Negev (NRCN) in Dimona are complaining bitterly at the humiliation of being excluded from the US, saying the turn-downs are an “offense” against them “and their families.” (???) Moreover, the Dimona bomb plant is suddenly finding it difficult to import technical components and equipment from the United States. The restrictions, they say, are unprecedented. They also claim a double standard, alleging that the Obama administration is being “lenient” toward Iran.

“In fact, Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is at the moment largely in compliance with it, has no nuclear arsenal, and does not even have a nuclear weapons program. (The treaty allows countries to enrich uranium for fuel, which is all that Iran is known to be doing). Yet the US has an extensive regime of economic sanctions on Iran, along with UN Security Council sanctions, both of which Obama is attempting to ratchet up. In contrast, Israel is actively constructing more and more nuclear warheads, which it is stockpiling, and which its leaders occasionally brandish at other Middle Eastern states. The Israeli arsenal, in turn, spurs a Middle East arms race…

“Obama appears to have a nuclear strategy that deploys arsenal reduction among the great powers as a platform on which to pursue non-proliferation and perhaps even the roll-back of some existing nuclear stockpiles. As with Israel’s stubborn insistence on continuing to steal Palestinian land and to blockade the Gazans– which ensures continued violence– so its rogue nuclear operation is ultimately a threat to the international security of the United States.

“The Israeli scientists at Dimona have it backwards. It is they who are providing a justification to Iran and giving it a motivation to close the fuel cycle and have at least nuclear latency or the ‘Japan option,’ as a way of countering Israel’s policy in the region.”

In the meantime, we learn that have all along been busy weapons-grade uranium from the US. See this document, published courtesy of the Israel Lobby Archive.

http://redressnewsblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/israel-steals-weapons-grade-uranium.html

weapons

Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Friday, 28 May 2010 13:14 UK

Printable version

Dimona is understood to be the

source of plutonium for Israel’s weapons

By Tim Franks BBC News, Jerusalem

As the UN conference on nuclear non-proliferation draws to a close, the most contentious area remains a region with no nuclear power stations, and no country which has declared that it has nuclear weapons: the Middle East.

There have been renewed efforts, at the conference, to have the Middle East declared a “nuclear-free zone”. But such a push is drawing stiff opposition from Israel and its allies.

Israel is one of only four states (along with North Korea, India and Pakistan) not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is widely believed to have atomic bombs, although there has never been any certainty or clarity about Israel’s nuclear capabilities.

It would be very foolish to ask us to disarm, because we won’t. I am at the age where the Holocaust is very, very fresh in my memory

Uzi Even, Professor of chemistry at Tel Aviv University

The single whistle-blower there was, Mordechai Vanunu, paid a heavy price. He passed details to the Sunday Times newspaper about the highly secret nuclear research facility he worked at, next to the southern Israeli town of Dimona. After being snatched by Israeli agents abroad, in 1986, he spent 18 years in prison.

But the global consensus has overtaken the official Israeli refusal to confirm or deny whether the country holds nuclear weapons. Only this week, Henry Kissinger, the former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State to two US presidents, spoke, on the BBC, about “Israeli nuclear weapons”.

‘Pressure premature’

Uzi Even worked at the Dimona nuclear facility back in the 1960s. He is now a professor of chemistry at Tel Aviv University.

Mr Even will not talk about what Israel’s military nuclear capability might be, but defence analysts at the London-based Jane’s Group assess that Israel has enough fissile material for between 100 and 300 warheads.

Mr Even argues, though, that Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity – essentially never confirming their existence, but allowing others to believe that Israel has nuclear weapons – has in the past proved very worthwhile.

KEY BACKGROUND

Continue reading the main story Could Middle East be nuclear-free? Nuclear power in the Middle East Israel’s nuclear programme Q&A: Nuclear disarmament

Whatever pressure might be exerted at the NPT conference in New York, Mr Even says that talk of a nuclear-free Middle East is premature.

His view on Israel’s need for nuclear weapons is common in Israel and goes some way to explaining Israeli attitudes on the issue: “There is no country in the world like Israel, which feels as threatened as Israel.

“And there is no country in the world which has any justification to keep nuclear weapons, except for Israel.

“It would be very foolish to ask us to disarm, because we won’t. I am at the age where the Holocaust is very, very fresh in my memory.”

But at this point, Mr Even departs from the Israeli establishment view. He says that the posture of the past – nuclear ambiguity – belongs in the past.

The Dimona reactor is, he says, reaching the end of its life, now that it is more than 40 years old, and should be shut down. There is also such a widespread belief, around the world, that Israel has nuclear weapons, there is no further need for nods and winks.

And Israel, he argues, needs access to new nuclear technology. Climate change demands that Israel build a nuclear power station, perhaps in a joint project with Jordan. All of which means that “damage from (nuclear) ambiguity outweighs its benefit”.

‘Safe for conventional war’

There would be a further benefit, Mr Even argues, to Israel now signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. It would force Iran to cede the moral high ground over its own nuclear ambitions.

But Iran is also one of the big reasons why the Israeli government has no plans to change its nuclear policy right now.

Dore Gold is an Israeli former ambassador to the United Nations, and president of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. He says that not just Iran, but Iraq, Libya and Syria have all pursued a military nuclear capability, despite being signatories to the NPT.

As Dore Gold puts it, making Israel sign, would just “make the region safe for conventional war”.

Having Israel change its posture of nuclear ambiguity, he says, “would satisfy a small community of arms control experts in Washington and London, but it might leave the Middle East a much more dangerous place”.

And that is why the Israeli government insists that the time to push for a nuclear-free Middle East is only after the region is covered by a comprehensive peace agreement.

At the moment, such a goal appears to belong in the category of Very Long-term Ambition.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10183302.stm

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Nixon papers suggest Israel stole

nuclear material from US in 1965

Just read it for yourself at official archive (but who reads anyways)

http://nixon.archives.gov/virtuallibrary/documents/mr/071969_israel.pdf

“The Israelis, who are one of the few peoples whose survival is genuinely threatened,

are probably more likely than almost any other country to actually use their nuclear weapons,”

Henry A. Kissinger, the national security adviser, warned President Nixon in a memorandum dated July 19, 1969.

Also:

“There is circumstantial evidence that some fissionable material available for Israel’s weapons development was illegally obtained from the United States about 1965,”

Mr. Kissinger noted in his long memorandum.

One problem with trying to persuade Israel to freeze its nuclear program is that inspections would be useless, Mr. Kissinger said, conceding that “we could never cover all conceivable Israeli hiding places.” “This is one program on which the Israelis have persistently deceived us,” Mr. Kissinger said, “and may even have stolen from us.”

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Israel ‘has 150 nuclear weapons’

Mr Carter was speaking at the UK’s Hay-on-Wye literature festival

Ex-US President Jimmy Carter has said Israel

has at least 150 atomic weapons in its arsenal.

The Israelis have never confirmed they have nuclear weapons, but this has been widely assumed since a scientist leaked details in the 1980s.

Mr Carter made his comments on Israel’s weapons at a press conference at the annual literary Hay Festival in Wales.

He also described Israeli treatment of Palestinians as “one of the greatest human rights crimes on earth”.

Mr Carter gave the figure for the Israeli nuclear arsenal in response to a question on US policy on a possible nuclear-armed Iran, arguing that any country newly armed with atomic weapons faced overwhelming odds.

“The US has more than 12,000 nuclear weapons; the Soviet Union (sic) has about the same; Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more,” he said.

Israel’s Dimona reactor is understood to provide plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons

Nuclear power in the Middle East

Israeli PM dismisses nuclear row

Israel’s nuclear programme

“We have a phalanx of enormous capabilities, not only of weaponry but also of rockets to deliver every one of those missiles on a pinpoint accuracy target.”

Most experts estimate that Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, largely based on information leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper in the 1980s by Mordechai Vanunu, a former worker at the country’s Dimona nuclear reactor.

The US, a key ally of Israel, has in general followed the country’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity”, neither confirming or denying the existence of its assumed arsenal.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included Israel among a list of nuclear states in comments in December 2006, a week after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates used a similar form of words during a Senate hearing.

Former Israeli military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi-Farkash told Reuters news agency he considered Mr Carter’s comments “irresponsible”.

“The problem is that there are those who can use these statements when it comes to discussing the international effort to prevent Iran getting nuclear weapons,” he said.

‘Imprisonment’

During the press briefing, Mr Carter expressed his support for Israel as a country, but criticised its domestic and foreign policy.

“One of the greatest human rights crimes on earth is the starvation and imprisonment of 1.6m Palestinians,” he said.

The former US president cited statistics which he said showed the nutritional intake of some Palestinian children was below that of children in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as saying the European position on Israel could be best described as “supine”.

Mr Carter, awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, brokered the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the first between Israel and an Arab state.

In April he controversially held talks in the Syrian capital Damascus with Khaled Meshaal, leader of the militant Palestinian movement Hamas.

The former US president’s Carter Center was unavailable for further comment.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7420573.stm

Israel’s Bomb out of the Shadows

Nuclear Offer to Apartheid Regime Blows Diplomatic Cover

by Jonathan Cook
May 26th, 2010,
Dissident voice

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 to a statement with other UN Security Council members calling for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear arms.

The policy is chiefly aimed at Iran, which is believed by the US and Israel to be secretly developing a nuclear bomb, but would also risk ensnaring Israel. The US has supported Israel’s ambiguity policy since the late 1960s.

Oversight of Israel’s programme is also due to be debated at a meeting of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna next month.

The administration of US President Barack Obama is reported to have held high-level discussions with Israel at the weekend to persuade it to consent to proposals for a 2012 conference to outlaw weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

As pressure mounts on Israel, local analysts have been debating the benefits of maintaining the ambiguity policy, with most warning that an erosion of the principle would lead inexorably to Israel being forced to dismantle its arsenal.

Echoing the Israeli security consensus, Yossi Melman, a military intelligence correspondent for the Haaretz newspaper, also cautioned that declaring Israel’s nuclear status “would play into Iran’s hands” by focusing attention on Tel Aviv rather than Tehran.

Israel refused to sign the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, having developed its first warhead a few years earlier with help from Britain and France.

Tom Segev, an Israeli historian, reported that Israel briefly considered showing its nuclear hand in 1967 when Shimon Peres, Israel’s current president, proposed publicly conducting a nuclear test to prevent the impending Six-Day War. However, the test was overruled by Levi Eshkol, the prime minister of the time.

Mr Peres, who master-minded the nuclear programme, later formulated the policy of ambiguity, in which Israel asserts only that it will “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East”.

That stance — and a promise not to conduct nuclear tests — was accepted by the US administration of Richard Nixon in 1969.

According to analysts, the agreement between Israel and the US was driven in part by concerns that Washington would not be able to give Israel foreign aid — today worth billions of dollars — if Israel declared itself a nuclear state but refused international supervision.

Nonetheless, revelations over the years have made it increasingly difficult for the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s arsenal.

Mordechai Vanunu, a technician at the Dimona nuclear energy plant in the Negev, provided photographic evidence and detailed descriptions of the country’s weapons programme in 1986. Today the Israeli arsenal is estimated at more than 200 warheads.

In 2006 Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister, let slip Israel’s nuclear status during an interview with German TV when he listed “America, France, Israel and Russia” as countries with nuclear arms.

Even more damaging confirmation was provided this week by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which published documents unearthed for a new book — The Unspoken Alliance by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, an American historian — on relations between Israel and South Africa’s apartheid regime.

The top-secret papers reveal that in 1975 Mr Peres, then Israel’s defence minister, met with his South African counterpart, P. W. Botha, to discuss selling the regime nuclear-armed missiles. The deal fell through partly because South Africa could not afford the weapons. Pretoria later developed its own bomb, almost certainly with Israel’s help.

Israel, Mr Polakow-Suransky said, had fought to prevent declassification of the documents.

Despite publication by the Guardian of a photographed agreement bearing the date and the signatures of both Mr Peres and Mr Botha, Mr Peres’ office issued a statement on Monday denying the report.

Israel’s increasingly transparent nuclear status is seen as an obstacle to US efforts both to impose sanctions on Iran and to damp down a wider potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

This month the US surprised officials in Tel Aviv by failing to keep Israel’s nuclear programme off the agenda of the IAEA’s next meeting, on June 7. The issue has only ever been discussed twice before, in 1988 and 1991.

Aware of the growing pressure of Israel to come clean, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, declined an invitation to attend a nuclear security conference in Washington last month at which participants had threatened to question Israel about its arms.

At the meeting, US President Barack Obama called on all countries, including Israel, to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A draft declaration being considered at the UN review conference later this week again demands that Israel — and two other states known to have nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan — sign the treaty.

Egypt has proposed that the 189 states that have signed the treaty, including the US, pledge not to transfer nuclear equipment, information, material or professional help to Israel until it does so.

Reuven Pedatzur, an Israeli defence analyst, warned recently in Haaretz that there was a danger the Egyptian proposal might be adopted by the US, or that it might be used as a stick to browbeat a recalcitrant Israel into accepting greater limitations on its arsenal. He suggested ending what he called the “ridiculous fiction” of the ambiguity policy.

Emily Landau, an arms control expert at Tel Aviv University, however, said that those who believed Israel should be more transparent were “misguided”. Ending ambiguity, she said, would eventually lead to calls for Israel’s “total and complete disarmament”.

The last Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, five years ago, failed when the US repudiated pledges to disarm and refused to pressure Israel over its nuclear programme.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan’s website

http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/israel%E2%80%99s-bomb-out-of-the-shadows/

http://islamdaily.org/en/Contents.aspx?AID=8453

Q.

What is the White Elephant in the Nuclear Negotiation Room whose existence no one is willing to  even admit:

A.

Israel has refused inspection of its nuclear facilities for 30 Years!!!

ElBaradei says nuclear Israel number one threat to Mideast: report
www.chinaview.cn 2009-10-04 22:44:00
TEHRAN, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that “Israel is number one threat to Middle East” with its nuclear arms, the official IRNA news agency reported.At a joint press conference with Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, ElBaradei brought Israel under spotlight and said that the Tel Aviv regime has refused to allow inspections into its nuclear installations for 30years, the report said.”Israel is the number one threat to the Middle East given the nuclear arms it possesses,” ElBaradei was quoted as saying.Israel is widely assumed to have nuclear capabilities, although it refuses to confirm or deny the allegation.“This (possession of nuclear arms) was the cause for some proper measures to gain access to its (Israel’s) power plants … and the U.S. president has done some positive measures for the inspections to happen,” said ElBaradei.

ElBaradei arrived in Iran Saturday for talks with Iranian officials over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Leaders of the United States, France and Britain have condemned Iran’s alleged deception to the international community involving covert activities in its new underground nuclear site.

Last month, Iran confirmed that it is building a new nuclear fuel enrichment plant near its northwestern city of Qom. In reaction, the IAEA asked Tehran to provide detailed information and access to the new nuclear facility as soon as possible.

On Sunday, ElBaradei said the UN nuclear watchdog would inspect Iran’s new uranium plant near Qom on Oct. 25.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/04/content_12181647.htm

September 29, 2009

Chutzpah, Thy Name Is Israel

Posted by David Kramer on September 29, 2009 02:18 PM

ISRAEL ‘DEPLORES’ IAEA CALL TO JOIN NPT

The Israeli government has officially said that it “deplores” the vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member states to call on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and submit their nuclear facilities to the same oversight as the rest of the world does. The vote narrowly passed, 49-45, and was generally opposed by Western nations while being supported by UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China, as well as most of the nations in the Middle East. The United States ambassador Glyn Davies publicly rejected the resolution, calling it “redundant” and claiming that calling on Israel to join the NPT as every other nation in the Middle East has unfairly singled them out.

The issue of Israel as a nuclear power and a non-signatory of the NPT has been controversial, and when a US State Department official said in May that the US wanted everyone to join the NPT Israel reacted with shock and outrage.

I guess as far as Israel is concerned, it’s “NPT for thee, but not for me.” Oh, but I keep forgetting—Israel “doesn’t have” any nuclear weapons.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/037662.html

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Israeli DM Rejects Nuclear Arms Ban, Citing Muslims

Barak Insists “There Can Be No Debate on Nuclear Disarmament”

by Jason Ditz, September 17, 2009

Email This | Print This | // Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted today that his government will not consider signing any treaty calling for a nuclear-free Middle East because of the “unruly” nature of the Muslim nations in the region.

Ehud Barak

Until the Muslim world from Marakesh (Morocco) to Bangladesh behaves like Western Europe, there can be no debate on nuclear disarmament,” Barak declared in an editorial published by Yedioth Ahronoth.

Israel is actually the only country in the Middle East which possesses a nuclear arsenal, though it only occasionally admits that this is the case. The nation launched a 1981 attack on Iraq over suspicions it might be attempting to acquire a nuclear weapon. It has already repeatedly threatened to attack Iran over its civilian nuclear program.

The IAEA assembly voted 100-1 today to support a nuclear free Middle East, with only Israel voting against the draft. The United States abstained though it insists that it supports the idea.

http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/17/israeli-dm-rejects-nuclear-arms-ban-citing-muslims/

Israel ‘Deplores’ IAEA Call to Join NPT

US Rejects Vote, Canada Tries to Block Resolution

by Jason Ditz, September 18, 2009

Email This | Print This | // Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum

The Israeli government has officially said that it “deplores” the vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member states to call on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and submit their nuclear facilities to the same oversight as the rest of the world does.

The vote narrowly passed, 49-45, and was generally opposed by Western nations while being supported by UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China, as well as most of the nations in the Middle East.

The United States ambassador Glyn Davies publicly rejected the resolution, calling it “redundant” and claiming that calling on Israel to join the NPT as every other nation in the Middle East has unfairly singled them out.

Canada went one step further, trying to block the vote entirely and condemning it as “unbalanced.” Votes on similar resolutions had been successfully blocked in 2007 and 2008, but this year’s attempt at blocking it failed.

The issue of Israel as a nuclear power and a non-signatory of the NPT has been controversial, and when a US State Department official said in May that the US wanted everyone to join the NPT Israel reacted with shock and outrage.

Related Stories

http://news.antiwar.com/2009/09/18/israel-deplores-iaea-call-to-join-npt/

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AIPAC Economic Warfare Also Targets US

Grant Smith
Sat 10 Dec 2011

From Stolen US Trade Secrets to Iran’s Central Bank

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is trumpeting tough new sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank.  This financial blockade will likely drive up global energy prices as Iran struggles to sell petroleum to wholesalers fearful of secondary boycotts.  That the sources of this latest step toward US military action against Iran are mainly Israel lobbying groups or beneficiaries of their campaign finance network has been well-established.  The lobby justifies the campaign based on unsubstantiated allegations that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons although no evidence from credible sources has emerged.   Less well known is that Israel and its lobby frequently deploy tactics from same menu of economic warfare — such as capturing assets — against the United States.  Newly declassified documents extracted from a very reluctant US Trade Representative are a case in point.

In 1984 the captured assets in question were also of the intangible variety — trade secrets, strategies, and classified industry data.  The victims were more than seventy US corporations and business organizations that responded to US International Trade Commission solicitations in 1984 to participate in negotiations that would open the US market to Israeli exports.  After delivering up their confidential business data in opposition to the preferences, participants were appalled that the Israeli government pilfered all the USTR’s classified report and passed it to AIPAC to lobby against US industries.  But what made this captured US intellectual asset so valuable and timely?  After a multi-year battle that began in 2009, the US Trade Representative was finally forced to publicly release (PDFs) the majority of the secret report surreptitiously obtained by AIPAC decades ago.   The secret document reveals all.

One section of the report details the efforts of Israel’s state-owned and heavily subsidized bromine industry to muscle out anxious US producers based in Arkansas.  In another, Israeli tomato producers subsidized by government price supports, fight for market access against principled US opposition.  Why did AIPAC need American gold rope chain producer confidential business data and industry talking points of all things?  At the time, three quarters of Israel’s gold rope chain industry capacity was idle.  AIPAC and its foreign principal needed to replace the uncertain market access granted by the Generalized System of Preferences with permanent, unreciprocated zero-tariff, US-market trade preferences.  But first AIPAC and Israel needed to know everything American producers were secretly telling the Reagan administration.  Stealing that section of the report (PDF) was the most efficient way.

The report — still not fully released — is a treasure-trove of market insights, production costs, US industry lobbying positions and internal corporate data unobtainable from any legitimate source.  Israel and its foreign agents — with the purloined data and ill-gotten, unreciprocated market access — have been able to create a captive US market for up to 40 percent of Israel’s total exports. Meanwhile, American exporters continue to complain about being locked out of Israel’s market. Other illicit acts followed the theft of trade data.  According to another recently-released secret document, an audit conducted by the US State Department’s Sherman Funk, increased preferential access to sensitive US technology enabled Israel to freely copy and resell it to the highest bidder.  This was enabled by US government infighting at the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

A bona fide review of unrelenting Israeli economic warfare against the United States, including the granddaddy of them all, stealing US nuclear material and technology, raises a fundamental question: why does America continue to put up with all this?

The unsurprising answer is that our core institutions responsible for holding elite Israel lobbyists in check have all been infiltrated and corrupted.  This has left average Americans exposed to the economic and moral consequences as the Justice and Treasury Departments simply look the other way.  With a bit more law enforcement, Abraham Feinberg would have been prosecuted as a WWII draft dodger, rather than free to launch his Israel lobbying career stuffing Harry Truman and LBJ’s pockets with cash while secretly funding the Israeli nuclear weapons program.  The Zionist Organization of America and AIPAC would both have been openly registered as agents of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  And the alphabet soup of Israel’s covert operators, from Nahum Bernstein (who financed illegal weapons diversions) to Douglas Bloomfield (who illegally duplicated the stolen classified trade document for AIPAC), would actually have served prison time for their crimes.

But rule of law and enforcement has seized up when it comes to the Israel lobby, from election law violations to capture of assets.  Until it is restored, Americans will continue to suffer the consequences of economic warfare directed against Israel’s enemies and its largest benefactor.

December 10, 2011, AW

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Below: Nuclear Explosion

nuke

Nuclear Explosion at Bikini Atoll Above: Nuclear Explosion “experiment” at Bikini Atoll

Damage13-hiroshima-c

Above: Some of the Devastation from the Atomic Bomb in Japan in 1945:

In Hiroshima, an estimated 80,000 people were killed in a split second. Some 13 square kilometres of the city were obliterated. By December, at least another 70,000 people had died from radiation and injuries. Three days after Hiroshima’s destruction, the US dropped an Atomic Bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of at least 70,000 people before the year was out. Since 1945, tens of thousands more residents of the two cities have continued to suffer and die from radiation-induced cancers, birth defects and still births, etc etc.

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SECRET US-ISRAEL ACCORD to HIDE

ISRAELI NUKES!

EXCLUSIVE:

Secret U.S.-Israel nuclear accord in jeopardy

Eli Lake Wednesday, May 6, 2009

EXCLUSIVE:

President Obama’s efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons threaten to expose and derail a 40-year-old secret U.S. agreement to shield Israel’s nuclear weapons from international scrutiny, former and current U.S. and Israeli officials and nuclear specialists say.

The issue will likely come to a head when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Mr. Obama on May 18 in Washington. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to seek assurances from Mr. Obama that he will uphold the U.S. commitment and will not trade Israeli nuclear concessions for Iranian ones.

Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, speaking Tuesday at a U.N. meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said Israel should join the treaty, which would require Israel to declare and relinquish its nuclear arsenal.

“Universal adherence to the NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, … remains a fundamental objective of the United States,” Ms. Gottemoeller told the meeting, according to Reuters.

RELATED MATERIAL:
• Sidebar: America has protected Israeli nuke program for 40 years
• Click here to see the National Security Archives at George Washington University.
• Click here to download the May 4 statement by Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister at the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee of 2010 NPT Review Conference.
• Click here to download a PDF of a memo that has been declassified by the Nixon library.

She declined to say, however, whether the Obama administration would press Israel to join the treaty.

A senior White House official said the administration considered the nuclear programs of Israel and Iran to be unrelated “apples and oranges.”

Asked by The Washington Times whether the administration would press Israel to join the NPT, the official said, “We support universal adherence to the NPT. [It] remains a long-term goal.”

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Avner Cohen, author of “Israel and the Bomb” and the leading expert outside the Israeli government on the history of Israel’s nuclear program, said Mr. Obama’s “upcoming meeting with Netanyahu, due to the impending discussions with Iran, will be a platform for Israel to ask for reassurances that old understandings on the nuclear issue are still valid.”

For the past 40 years, Israel and the U.S. have kept quiet about an Israeli nuclear arsenal that is now estimated at 80 to 200 weapons. Israel has promised not to test nuclear weapons while the U.S. has not pressed Israel to sign the nuclear NPT, which permits only five countries – the U.S., France, Britain, China and Russia – to have nuclear arms.

The U.S. also has opposed most regional calls for a “nuclear-free Middle East.” The accord was forged at a summit between Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Nixon on Sept. 25, 1969, according to recently released documents, but remains so secret that there is no explicit record of it. Mr. Cohen has referred to the deal as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” because it commits both the U.S. and Israel never to acknowledge in public Israels nuclear arsenal.

When asked what the Obama administration’s position was on the 1969 understanding, the senior White House official offered no comment.

Over the years, demands for Israel to come clean have multiplied.

The Iran factor

Iranian leaders have long complained about being subjected to a double standard that allows non-NPT members India and Pakistan, as well as Israel, to maintain and even increase their nuclear arsenals but sanctions Tehran, an NPT member, for not cooperating fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

On Monday, Iranian Deputy Foreign MinisterMohammad Ali Hosseini told a U.N. meeting preparing for a major review of the NPT next year that nuclear cooperation by the U.S., France and Britain with Israel is “in total disregard with the obligations under the treaty and commitments undertaken in 1995 and 2000, and a source of real concern for the international community, especially the parties to the treaty in the Middle East.”

The Obama administration is seeking talks with Iran on its nuclear program and has dropped a precondition for negotiations that Iran first suspend its uranium enrichment program.

“What the Israelis sense, rightly, is that Obama wants to do something new on Iran and this may very well involve doing something new about Israel’s program,” said Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a Washington think tank.

Bruce Riedel, a former senior director for the Middle East and South Asia on the White House National Security Council, said, “If you’re really serious about a deal with Iran, Israel has to come out of the closet. A policy based on fiction and double standards is bound to fail sooner or later. What’s remarkable is that it’s lasted so long.” Mr. Riedel headed the Obama administration’s review of strategy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan but does not hold a permanent administration position and has returned to private life as a scholar at the Brookings Institution.

The open secret

Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser for the George W. Bush administration, said that administration resisted international efforts to pressure Israel on the nuclear front.

“We did not want to accept any operational language that would put Israel at a disadvantage and raise the question of whether Israel was a nuclear power,” he said. “That was not a discussion that we thought was helpful. We allowed very general statements about the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East as long that language was hortatory.”

Israel began its nuclear program shortly after the state was founded in 1948 and produced its first weapons, according to Mr. Cohen’s book, on the eve of the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli defense doctrine considers the nuclear arsenal to be a strategic deterrent against extinction. But its nuclear monopoly is increasingly jeopardized by Iranian advances and the possibility that Iran’s program could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.

Israel’s arsenal has also been an open secret for decades, despite the fact that Israeli law forbids Israeli journalists from referring to the state’s nuclear weapons unless they quote non-Israeli sources.

In 1986, the Israeli nuclear scientist, Mordecai Vanunu disclosed in the Sunday Times of London photographs and the first insider account of Dimona, the location of Israels primary nuclear facility. Israel responded by convicting him of treason. He was released in 2004 after spending 18 years in prison but has continued to talk about the program on occasion. The government has barred Mr. Vanunu from leaving Israel.

‘Nuclear-free’ zone

References to a “nuclear-free Middle East,” meanwhile, have cropped up increasingly in international resolutions and conferences. For example, the 1991 U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, which sanctioned Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, noted “the objective of achieving balanced and comprehensive control of armaments in the region.” More recently, a March 2006 IAEA resolution, in referring Iran to the Security Council, noted “that a solution to the Iranian issue would contribute to global nonproliferation efforts and to realizing the objective of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.”

U.S. allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia also have pressed the U.S. to link Israel’s weapons to Iran’s as part of a plan to implement a nuclear-free Middle East.

A proposal to introduce a Security Council resolution declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone and calling for sanctions against those countries that did not comply was broached in a 2006 strategic dialogue between Saudi Arabia and the United States, said Turki al-Faisal, who was Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

“When I talked to American officials about that when I was ambassador here, and before that to British officials in the U.K., the immediate response was, ‘Israel is not going to accept,’ ” Prince Turki told editors and reporters of The Washington Times last month. “And my immediate response was, ‘So what?’ If Israel doesnt accept, it doesnt mean its a bad idea.”

A balancing act

Mr. Netanyahu, whose meeting with Mr. Obama on May 18 will be the first since both took office, raised the issue of the nuclear understanding during a previous tenure as prime minister.

Israeli journalists and officials said Mr. Netanyahu asked for a reaffirmation and clarification of the Nixon-Meir understanding in 1998 at Wye River, where the U.S. mediated an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Mr. Netanyahu wanted a personal commitment from President Clinton because of concerns about a treaty that Mr. Clinton supported to bar production of fissile materials that can be used to make weapons. Israel was worried that the treaty would apply to de facto nuclear states, including Israel, and might oblige it to allow inspections of Dimona.

In 2000, Israeli journalist Aluf Benn disclosed that Mr. Clinton at Wye River promised Mr. Netanyahu that “Israels nuclear capability will be preserved.” Mr. Benn described as testy an exchange of letters between the two leaders over the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. He said Mr. Netanyahu wrote Mr. Clinton: “We will never sign the treaty, and do not delude yourselves – no pressure will help. We will not sign the treaty because we will not commit suicide.”

The Bush administration largely dropped the treaty in its first term and reopened negotiations in its second term with a proposal that did not include verification.

The Obama agenda

Mr. Obama has made nuclear disarmament a bigger priority in part to undercut Iran’s and North Korea’s rationale for proliferation. His administration has begun negotiations with Russia on a new treaty to reduce U.S. and Russian arsenals. He also has expressed support for the fissile material treaty.

“To cut off the building blocks needed for a bomb, the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials intended for use in state nuclear weapons,” he said last month in Prague. “If we are serious about stopping the spread of these weapons, then we should put an end to the dedicated production of weapons-grade materials that create them.”

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank, said such a treaty would be the first step toward limiting the Israeli nuclear program.

“The question is how much of a priority is this for the Obama administration?” he said.

John R. Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador and undersecretary of state, said Israel was right to be concerned.

“If I were the Israeli government, I would be very worried about the Obama administration’s attitude on their nuclear deterrent,” he said. “You can barely raise the subject of nuclear weapons in the Middle East without someone saying: ‘What about Israel?’ If Israel’s opponents put it on the table, it is entirely possible Obama will pick it up.”

Asked about the issue, Jonathan Peled, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said, “We don’t discuss the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel.” The White House had no immediate comment.

However, Ms. Gottemoeller endorsed the concept of a nuclear-free Middle East in a 2005 paper that she co-authored, “Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security.”

“Instead of defensively trying to ignore Israels nuclear status, the United States and Israel should proactively call for regional dialogue to specify the conditions necessary to achieve a zone free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons,” she wrote.

The paper recommends that Israel take steps to disarm in exchange for its neighbors getting rid of chemical and biological weapons programs as well as Iran forgoing uranium enrichment.

• Barbara Slavin and Erin Spiegel contributed to this report from Washington.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/06/us-weighs-forcing-israel-to-disclose-nukes//print/

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America has protected Israeli nuke program for 40 years

By Eli Lake

The origins of the U.S. shield of Israel’s nuclear program date to a 1969 summit between President Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, documents released in the past few years show.

There is no one piece of paper that actually describes the accord. However, the closest acknowledgment of the deal came in 2007, when the Nixon Library declassified many of the papers of former National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. A July 7, 1969, memorandum to Mr. Nixon titled, “Israeli Nuclear Program,” said that by the end of 1970, Israel would likely have 24 to 30 French surface-to-surface missiles, 10 of which would have nuclear warheads.

Mr. Kissinger, who later became secretary of state, wrote that ideally, the U.S. would prefer Israel to have no nuclear weapons, but that was not attainable.

He added that “public knowleadge is almost as dangerous as possession itself,” arguing that an Israeli announcement of its arsenal or a nuclear test could prompt the Soviet Union to offer Arab states a nuclear guarantee.

“What this means is that: While we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact,” Mr. Kissinger wrote.

In December 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted publicly at this reality.

Responding to a question about the Iranian program in light of Israels nuclear arsenal, he said: “Israel is a democracy, Israel doesn’t threaten any country with anything, never did. The most that we tried to get for ourselves is to try to live without terror, but we never threaten another nation with annihilation. Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they [Iran] are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/06/america-has-protected-israeli-nuke-program-for-40-/

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Wait a minute!!!!

Isn’t the USA prohibited by law from providing funds to countries engaged in nuclear proliferation?

YES it is ,,,

Nevertheless billions go to Israel in aid every year, and it is the largest recipient of USA aid: EVERY YEAR!

US Taxpayers money, again US law (unless the president want to circumvent it of course, his prerogative), and the stated US policy of nuclear non-proliferation.

Hmm,,,

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Nuclear weapons and Israel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel

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Israeli Nukes, US Foreign Aid and the Symington Amendment

(i.e. “strategic ambiguity” meaning, sort of like don’t ask don’t tell policy)

Documents

The following document case file reveals the slow decline of  the policy of “strategic ambiguity” whereby US and Israeli officials deny the existence of the Israeli nuclear weapons arsenal in order to continue unfettered US military aid.

Document/File Date Contents
1960 (PDF) CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate released on June 5, 2009.  Israel’s nukes and role in foreign policy “assertiveness.””Possession of a nuclear weapon capability, or even the prospect of achieving it, would clearly give Israel a greater sense of security, self-confidence, and assertiveness…Israel would be less inclined than ever to make concessions…”
1963 President John F. Kennedy insists on US inspections of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor in a secret letter to Prime Minister Levi Eskol.
1970 Treaty on the Non proliferation of Nuclear Weapons enters into force.
1976 The US passes the Symington Amendment of  1976. Symington Amendment prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards. Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
1977 Glenn Amendment of 1977 calls for an end to aid to countries that import reprocessing technology.
1986 The Sunday Times publishes “The secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal/ Atomic technician Mordechai Vanunu reveals secret weapons production.”
2008 Former president Jimmy Carter names Israel as a nuclear weapons power.
2008 The US Army names Israel as a nuclear weapons power.
2009 AIPAC and ZOA lobby for $2.775 billion in US military aid for Israel
2009 Congress advised (via fax) that US aid is governed by the Symington Amendment.
2009 President Barak Obama advised (via letter) that US aid is governed by the Symington Amendment

http://www.irmep.org/ila/nukes/

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THE THIRD TEMPLE’S HOLY OF HOLIES:


ISRAEL’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army

The Counterproliferation Papers

Future Warfare Series No. 2

USAF Counterproliferation Center

Air War College

Air University

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

September 1999

The Counterproliferation Papers Series was established by the USAF Counterproliferation Center to provide information and analysis to U.S. national security policy-makers and USAF officers to assist them in countering the threat posed by adversaries equipped with weapons of mass destruction.  Copies of papers in this series are available from the USAF Counterproliferation Center, 325 Chennault Circle, Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6427.  The fax number is (334) 953-7538; phone (334) 953-7538.

Counterproliferation Paper No. 2
USAF Counterproliferation Center
Air War College

Air University
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama 36112-6427

The internet address for the USAF Counterproliferation Center is:

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-cps.htm

Contents:

Page

Disclaimer i

The Author ii

Acknowledgments iii

Abstract iv

I.  Introduction 1

II.  1948-1962:  With French Cooperation 3

III.  1963-1973:  Seeing the Project Through to Completion 9

IV.  1974-1999:  Bringing the Bomb Up the Basement Stairs 15

Appendix:  Estimates of the Israeli Nuclear Arsenal 23

Notes 25

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this publication are those solely of the author and are not a statement of official policy or position of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, or the USAF Counterproliferation Center.

The Author

Colonel Warner D. “Rocky” Farr, Medical Corps, Master Flight Surgeon, U.S. Army, graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama before becoming the Command Surgeon, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  He also serves as the Surgeon for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, and the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.  With thirty-three years of military service, he holds an Associate of Arts from the State University of New York, Bachelor of Science from Northeast Louisiana University, Doctor of Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Masters of Public Health from the University of Texas, and has completed medical residencies in aerospace medicine, and anatomic and clinical pathology.  He is the only army officer to be board certified in these three specialties.  Solo qualified in the TH-55A Army helicopter, he received flight training in the T-37 and T-38 aircraft as part of his USAF School of Aerospace Medicine residency.

Colonel Farr was a Master Sergeant Special Forces medic prior to receiving a direct commission to second lieutenant.  He is now the senior Special Forces medical officer in the U.S. Army with prior assignments in the 5th, 7th, and 10th Special Forces Groups (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, in Vietnam, the United States, and Germany.  He has advised the 12th and 20th Special Forces Groups (Airborne) in the reserves and national guard, served as Division Surgeon, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), and as the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the assistance, guidance and encouragement from my Air War College (AWC) faculty research advisor, Dr. Andrew Terrill, instructor of the Air War College Arab-Israeli Wars course.  Thanks are also due to the great aid of the Air University librarians.  The author is also indebted to Captain J. R. Saunders, USN and Colonel Robert Sutton, USAF. Who also offered helpful suggestions.

Abstract

This paper is a history of the Israeli nuclear weapons program drawn from a review of unclassified sources.  Israel began its search for nuclear weapons at the inception of the state in 1948.  As payment for Israeli participation in the Suez Crisis of 1956, France provided nuclear expertise and constructed a reactor complex for Israel at Dimona capable of large-scale plutonium production and reprocessing.  The United States discovered the facility by 1958 and it was a subject of continual discussions between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers.  Israel used delay and deception to at first keep the United States at bay, and later used the nuclear option as a bargaining chip for a consistent American conventional arms supply.  After French disengagement in the early 1960s, Israel progressed on its own, including through several covert operations, to project completion. Before the 1967 Six-Day War, they felt their nuclear facility threatened and reportedly assembled several nuclear devices.  By the 1973 Yom Kippur War Israel had a number of sophisticated nuclear bombs, deployed them, and considered using them.  The Arabs may have limited their war aims because of their knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons.  Israel has most probably conducted several nuclear bomb tests.  They have continued to modernize and vertically proliferate and are now one of the world’s larger nuclear powers.  Using “bomb in the basement” nuclear opacity, Israel has been able to use its arsenal as a deterrent to the Arab world while not technically violating American nonproliferation requirements.

The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies:
Israel’s Nuclear Weapons

Warner D. Farr

I. Introduction

This is the end of the Third Temple.

– Attributed to Moshe Dayan

during the Yom Kippur War[1]

As Zionists in Palestine watched World War II from their distant sideshow, what lessons were learned?  The soldiers of the Empire of Japan vowed on their emperor’s sacred throne to fight to the death and not face the inevitability of an American victory.  Many Jews wondered if the Arabs would try to push them into the Mediterranean Sea.  After the devastating American nuclear attack on Japan, the soldier leaders of the empire reevaluated their fight to the death position.  Did the bomb give the Japanese permission to surrender and live?  It obviously played a military role, a political role, and a peacemaking role.  How close was the mindset of the Samurai culture to the Islamic culture?  Did David Ben-Gurion take note and wonder if the same would work for Israel?[2]  Could Israel find the ultimate deterrent that would convince her opponents that they could never, ever succeed?  Was Israel’s ability to cause a modern holocaust the best way to guarantee never having another one?

The use of unconventional weapons in the Middle East is not new.  The British had used chemical artillery shells against the Turks at the second battle of Gaza in 1917.  They continued chemical shelling against the Shiites in Iraq in 1920 and used aerial chemicals in the 1920s and 1930s in Iraq.[3]

Israel’s involvement with nuclear technology starts at the founding of the state in 1948.  Many talented Jewish scientists immigrated to Palestine during the thirties and forties, in particular, Ernst David Bergmann.  He would become the director of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and the founder of Israel’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.  Bergmann, a close friend and advisor of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, counseled that nuclear energy could compensate for Israel’s poor natural resources and small pool of military manpower.  He pointed out that there was just one nuclear energy, not two, suggesting nuclear weapons were part of the plan.[4]  As early as 1948, Israeli scientists actively explored the Negev Desert for uranium deposits on orders from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.  By 1950, they found low-grade deposits near Beersheba and Sidon and worked on a low power method of heavy water production.[5]

The newly created Weizmann Institute of Science actively supported nuclear research by 1949, with Dr. Bergmann heading the chemistry division.  Promising students went overseas to study nuclear engineering and physics at Israeli government expense.  Israel secretly founded its own Atomic Energy Commission in 1952 and placed it under the control of the Defense Ministry.[6]   The foundations of a nuclear program were beginning to develop.

II. 1948-1962: With French Cooperation

It has always been our intention to develop a nuclear potential.

– Ephraim Katzir[7]

In 1949, Francis Perrin, a member of the French Atomic Energy Commission, nuclear physicist, and friend of Dr. Bergmann visited the Weizmann Institute.  He invited Israeli scientists to the new French nuclear research facility at Saclay.  A joint research effort was subsequently set up between the two nations.  Perrin publicly stated in 1986 that French scientists working in America on the Manhattan Project and in Canada during World War II were told they could use their knowledge in France provided they kept it a secret.[8]  Perrin reportedly provided nuclear data to Israel on the same basis.[9] One Israeli scientist worked at the U.S. Los Alamos National Laboratory and may have directly brought expertise home.[10]

After the Second World War, France’s nuclear research capability was quite limited.  France had been a leading research center in nuclear physics before World War II, but had fallen far behind the U.S., the U.S.S.R., the United Kingdom, and even Canada.  Israel and France were at a similar level of expertise after the war, and Israeli scientists could make significant contributions to the French effort.  Progress in nuclear science and technology in France and Israel remained closely linked throughout the early fifties.  Israeli scientists probably helped construct the G-1 plutonium production reactor and UP-1 reprocessing plant at Marcoule.[11]  France profited from two Israeli patents on heavy water production and low-grade uranium enrichment.[12]  In the 1950s and into the early 1960s, France and Israel had close relations in many areas.  France was Israel’s principal arms supplier, and as instability spread through French colonies in North Africa, Israel provided valuable intelligence obtained from contacts with sephardic Jews in those countries.

The two nations collaborated, with the United Kingdom, in planning and staging the Suez Canal-Sinai operation against Egypt in October 1956.  The Suez Crisis became the real genesis of Israel’s nuclear weapons production program.  With the Czech-Egyptian arms agreement in 1955, Israel became worried.  When absorbed, the Soviet-bloc equipment would triple Egyptian military strength.  After Egypt’s President Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran in 1953, Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion ordered the development of chemical munitions and other unconventional munitions, including nuclear.[13]  Six weeks before the Suez Canal operation, Israel felt the time was right to approach France for assistance in building a nuclear reactor.  Canada had set a precedent a year earlier when it had agreed to build a 40-megawatt CIRUS reactor in India.  Shimon Peres, the Director-General of the Defense Ministry and aide to Prime Minister (and Defense Minister) David Ben-Gurion, and Bergmann met with members of the CEA (France’s Atomic Energy Commission).  During September 1956, they reached an initial understanding to provide a research reactor.  The two countries concluded final agreements at a secret meeting outside Paris where they also finalized details of the Suez Canal operation.[14]

For the United Kingdom and France, the Suez operation, launched on October 29, 1956, was a total disaster.  Israel’s part was a military success, allowing it to occupy the entire Sinai Peninsula by 4 November, but the French and British canal invasion on 6 November was a political failure.  Their attempt to advance south along the Suez Canal stopped due to a cease-fire under fierce Soviet and U.S. pressure.  Both nations pulled out, leaving Israel to face the pressure from the two superpowers alone.  Soviet Premier Bulganin and President Khrushchev issued an implicit threat of nuclear attack if Israel did not withdraw from the Sinai.

On 7 November 1956, a secret meeting was held between Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, and French foreign and defense ministers Christian Pineau and Maurice Bourges-Manoury.  The French, embarrassed by their failure to support their ally in the operation, found the Israelis deeply concerned about a Soviet threat.  In this meeting, they substantially modified the initial understanding beyond a research reactor.  Peres secured an agreement from France to assist Israel in developing a nuclear deterrent.  After further months of negotiation, agreement was reached for an 18-megawatt (thermal) research reactor of the EL-3 type, along with plutonium separation technology.  France and Israel signed the agreement in October 1957.[15]  Later the reactor was officially upgraded to 24 megawatts, but the actual specifications issued to engineers provided for core cooling ducts sufficient for up to three times this power level, along with a plutonium plant of similar capacity.  Data from insider reports revealed in 1986 would estimate the power level at 125-150 megawatts.[16]  The reactor, not connected to turbines for power production, needed this increase in size only to increase its plutonium production.  How this upgrade came about remains unknown, but Bourges-Maunoury, replacing Mollet as French prime minister, may have contributed to it.[17]  Shimon Peres, the guiding hand in the Israeli nuclear program, had a close relationship with Bourges-Maunoury and probably helped him politically.[18]

Why was France so eager to help Israel?  DeMollet and then de Gaulle had a place for Israel within their strategic vision.  A nuclear Israel could be a counterforce against Egypt in France’s fight in Algeria.  Egypt was openly aiding the rebel forces there.  France also wanted to obtain the bomb itself.  The United States had embargoed certain nuclear enabling computer technology from France.  Israel could get the technology from America and pass it through to France.  The U.S. furnished Israel heavy water, under the Atoms for Peace program, for the small research reactor at Soreq.  France could use this heavy water.  Since France was some years away from nuclear testing and success, Israeli science was an insurance policy in case of technical problems in France’s own program.[19]  The Israeli intelligence community’s knowledge of past French (especially Vichy) anti-Semitic transgressions and the continued presence of former Nazi collaborators in French intelligence provided the Israelis with some blackmail opportunities.[20]  The cooperation was so close that Israel worked with France on the preproduction design of early Mirage jet aircraft, designed to be capable of delivering nuclear bombs.[21]

French experts secretly built the Israeli reactor underground at Dimona, in the Negev desert of southern Israel near Beersheba.  Hundreds of French engineers and technicians filled Beersheba, the biggest town in the Negev.  Many of the same contractors who built Marcoule were involved.  SON (a French firm) built the plutonium separation plants in both France and Israel.  The ground was broken for the EL-102 reactor (as it was known to France) in early 1958.

Israel used many subterfuges to conceal activity at Dimona.  It called the plant a manganese plant, and rarely, a textile plant.  The United States by the end of 1958 had taken pictures of the project from U-2 spy planes, and identified the site as a probable reactor complex.  The concentration of Frenchmen was also impossible to hide from ground observers.  In 1960, before the reactor was operating, France, now under the leadership of de Gaulle, reconsidered and decided to suspend the project.  After several months of negotiation, they reached an agreement in November that allowed the reactor to proceed if Israel promised not to make nuclear weapons and to announce the project to the world.  Work on the plutonium reprocessing plant halted.  On 2 December 1960, before Israel could make announcements, the U.S. State Department issued a statement that Israel had a secret nuclear installation.  By 16 December, this became public knowledge with its appearance in the New York Times.  On 21 December, Ben-Gurion announced that Israel was building a 24-megawatt reactor “for peaceful purposes.”[22]

Over the next year, relations between the U.S. and Israel became strained over the Dimona reactor.  The U.S. accepted Israel’s assertions at face value publicly, but exerted pressure privately.  Although Israel allowed a cursory inspection by well known American physicists Eugene Wigner and I. I. Rabi, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion consistently refused to allow regular international inspections.  The final resolution between the U.S. and Israel was a commitment from Israel to use the facility for peaceful purposes, and to admit an U.S. inspection team twice a year.  These inspections began in 1962 and continued until 1969.  Inspectors saw only the above ground part of the buildings, not the many levels underground and the visit frequency was never more than once a year.  The above ground areas had simulated control rooms, and access to the underground areas was kept hidden while the inspectors were present.  Elevators leading to the secret underground plutonium reprocessing plant were actually bricked over.[23]  Much of the information on these inspections and the political maneuvering around it has just been declassified.[24]

One interpretation of Ben-Gurion’s “peaceful purposes” pledge given to America is that he interpreted it to mean that nuclear weapon development was not excluded if used strictly for defensive, and not offensive purposes.  Israel’s security position in the late fifties and early sixties was far more precarious than now.  After three wars, with a robust domestic arms industry and a reliable defense supply line from the U.S., Israel felt much more secure.  During the fifties and early sixties a number of attempts by Israel to obtain security guarantees from the U.S. to place Israel under the U.S. nuclear umbrella like NATO or Japan, were unsuccessful.  If the U.S. had conducted a forward-looking policy to restrain Israel’s proliferation, along with a sure defense agreement, we could have prevented the development of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

One common discussion in the literature concerns testing of Israeli nuclear devices.  In the early phases, the amount of collaboration between the French and Israeli nuclear weapons design programs made testing unnecessary.  In addition, although their main efforts were with plutonium, the Israelis may have amassed enough uranium for gun-assembled type bombs which, like the Hiroshima bomb, require no testing.  One expert postulated, based on unnamed sources, that the French nuclear test in 1960 made two nuclear powers not one—such was the depth of collaboration.]25]   There were several Israeli observers at the French nuclear tests and the Israelis had “unrestricted access to French nuclear test explosion data.”[26]    Israel also supplied essential technology and hardware.[27]  The French reportedly shipped reprocessed plutonium back to Israel as part of their repayment for Israeli scientific help.

However, this constant, decade long, French cooperation and support was soon to end and Israel would have to go it alone.

III. 1963-1973: Seeing the Project to Completion

To act in such a way that the Jews who died in the gas chambers would be the last Jews to die without defending themselves.

– Golda Meir[28 ]

Israel would soon need its own, independent, capabilities to complete its nuclear program.  Only five countries had facilities for uranium enrichment: the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China.  The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, or NUMEC, in Apollo, Pennsylvania was a small fuel rod fabrication plant.  In 1965, the U.S. government accused Dr. Zalman Shapiro, the corporation president, of “losing” 200 pounds of highly enriched uranium.  Although investigated by the Atomic Energy Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other government agencies and inquiring reporters, no answers were available in what was termed the Apollo Affair.[29]   Many remain convinced that the Israelis received 200 pounds of enriched uranium sometime before 1965.[30]  One source links Rafi Eitan, an Israeli Mossad agent and later the handler of spy Jonathan Pollard, with NUMEC.[31]   In the 1990s when the NUMEC plant was disassembled, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found over 100 kilograms of plutonium in the structural components of the contaminated plant, casting doubt on 200 pounds going to Israel.[32]

The joint venture with France gave Israel several ingredients for nuclear weapons construction: a production reactor, a factory to extract plutonium from the spent fuel, and the design.  In 1962, the Dimona reactor went critical; the French resumed work on the underground plutonium reprocessing plant, and completed it in 1964 or 1965.  The acquisition of this reactor and related technologies was clearly intended for military purposes from the outset (not “dual-use”), as the reactor has no other function.  The security at Dimona (officially the Negev Nuclear Research Center) was particularly stringent.  For straying into Dimona’s airspace, the Israelis shot down one of their own Mirage fighters during the Six-Day War.  The Israelis also shot down a Libyan airliner with 104 passengers, in 1973, which had strayed over the Sinai.[33]  There is little doubt that some time in the late sixties Israel became the sixth nation to manufacture nuclear weapons.  Other things they needed were extra uranium and extra heavy water to run the reactor at a higher rate.  Norway, France, and the United States provided the heavy water and “Operation Plumbat” provided the uranium.

After the 1967 war, France stopped supplies of uranium to Israel.  These supplies were from former French colonies of Gabon, Niger, and the Central Africa Republic.[34]  Israel had small amounts of uranium from Negev phosphate mines and had bought some from Argentina and South Africa, but not in the large quantities supplied by the French.  Through a complicated undercover operation, the Israelis obtained uranium oxide, known as yellow cake, held in a stockpile in Antwerp.  Using a West German front company and a high seas transfer from one ship to another in the Mediterranean, they obtained 200 tons of yellow cake.  The smugglers labeled the 560 sealed oil drums “Plumbat,” which means lead, hence “Operation Plumbat.”[35]  The West German government may have been involved directly but remained undercover to avoid antagonizing the Soviets or Arabs.[36]  Israeli intelligence information on the Nazi past of some West German officials may have provided the motivation.[37]

Norway sold 20 tons of heavy water to Israel in 1959 for use in an experimental power reactor.  Norway insisted on the right to inspect the heavy water for 32 years, but did so only once, in April 1961, while it was still in storage barrels at Dimona.  Israel simply promised that the heavy water was for peaceful purposes.  In addition, quantities much more than what would be required for the peaceful purpose reactors were imported.  Norway either colluded or at the least was very slow to ask to inspect as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules required.[38]  Norway and Israel concluded an agreement in 1990 for Israel to sell back 10.5 tons of the heavy water to Norway.  Recent calculations reveal that Israel has used two tons and will retain eight tons more.[39]

Author Seymour Hersh, writing in the Samson Option says Prime Minister Levi Eshkol delayed starting weapons production even after Dimona was finished.[40]  The reactor operated and the plutonium collected, but remained unseparated.  The first extraction of plutonium probably occurred in late 1965.  By 1966, enough plutonium was on hand to develop a weapon in time for the Six-Day War in 1967.  Some type of non-nuclear test, perhaps a zero yield or implosion test, occurred on November 2, 1966.  After this time, considerable collaboration between Israel and South Africa developed and continued through the 1970s and 1980s.  South Africa became Israel’s primary supplier of uranium for Dimona. A Center for Nonproliferation Studies report lists four separate Israel-South Africa “clandestine nuclear deals.”  Three concerned yellowcake and one was tritium.[41]  Other sources of yellowcake may have included Portugal.[42]

Egypt attempted unsuccessfully to obtain nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union both before and after the Six-Day War.  President Nasser received from the Soviet Union a questionable nuclear guarantee instead and declared that Egypt would develop its own nuclear program.[43 ] His rhetoric of 1965 and 1966 about preventive war and Israeli nuclear weapons coupled with overflights of the Dimona rector contributed to the tensions that led to war.  The Egyptian Air Force claims to have first overflown Dimona and recognized the existence of a nuclear reactor in 1965.[44 ] Of the 50 American HAWK antiaircraft missiles in Israeli hands, half ringed Dimona by 1965.[45]   Israel considered the Egyptian overflights of May 16, 1967 as possible pre-strike reconnaissance.  One source lists such Egyptian overflights, along with United Nations peacekeeper withdrawal and Egyptian troop movements into the Sinai, as one of the three “tripwires” which would drive Israel to war.[46]  There was an Egyptian military plan to attack Dimona at the start of any war but Nasser vetoed it.[47]  He believed Israel would have the bomb in 1968.[48]  Israel assembled two nuclear bombs and ten days later went to war.[49]  Nasser’s plan, if he had one, may have been to gain and consolidate territorial gains before Israel had a nuclear option.[50]  He was two weeks too late.

The Israelis aggressively pursued an aircraft delivery system from the United States.  President Johnson was less emphatic about nonproliferation than President Kennedy-or perhaps had more pressing concerns, such as Vietnam.  He had a long history of both Jewish friends and pressing political contributors coupled with some first hand experience of the Holocaust, having toured concentration camps at the end of World War II.[51]  Israel pressed him hard for aircraft (A-4E Skyhawks initially and F-4E Phantoms later) and obtained agreement in 1966 under the condition that the aircraft would not be used to deliver nuclear weapons.  The State Department attempted to link the aircraft purchases to continued inspection visits.  President Johnson overruled the State Department concerning Dimona inspections.[52]  Although denied at the time, America delivered the F-4Es, on September 5, 1969, with nuclear capable hardware intact.[53]

The Samson Option states that Moshe Dayan gave the go-ahead for starting weapon production in early 1968, putting the plutonium separation plant into full operation.  Israel began producing three to five bombs a year.  The book Critical Mass asserts that Israel had two bombs in 1967, and that Prime Minister Eshkol ordered them armed in Israel’s first nuclear alert during the Six-Day War.[54]  Avner Cohen in his recent book, Israel and the Bomb, agrees that Israel had a deliverable nuclear capability in the 1967 war.  He quotes Munya Mardor, leader of Rafael, the Armament Development Authority, and other unnamed sources, that Israel “cobbled together” two deliverable devices.[55]

Having the bomb meant articulating, even if secretly, a use doctrine.  In addition to the “Samson Option” of last resort, other triggers for nuclear use may have included successful Arab penetration of populated areas, destruction of the Israeli Air Force, massive air strikes or chemical/biological strikes on Israeli cities, and Arab use of nuclear weapons.[56]

In 1971, Israel began purchasing krytrons, ultra high-speed electronic switching tubes that are “dual-use,” having both industrial and nuclear weapons applications as detonators.  In the 1980s, the United States charged an American, Richard Smith (or Smyth), with smuggling 810 krytrons to Israel.[57]  He vanished before trial and reportedly lives outside Tel Aviv.  The Israelis apologized for the action saying that the krytrons were for medical research.[58]  Israel returned 469 of the krytrons but the rest, they declared, had been destroyed in testing conventional weapons.  Some believe they went to South Africa.[59]  Smyth has also been reported to have been involved in a 1972 smuggling operation to obtain solid rocket fuel binder compounds for the Jericho II missile and guidance component hardware.[60]  Observers point to the Jericho missile itself as proof of a nuclear capability as it is not suited to the delivery of conventional munitions.[61]

On the afternoon of 6 October 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in a coordinated surprise attack, beginning the Yom Kippur War.  Caught with only regular forces on duty, augmented by reservists with a low readiness level, Israeli front lines crumbled.  By early afternoon on 7 October, no effective forces were in the southern Golan Heights and Syrian forces had reached the edge of the plateau, overlooking the Jordan River.  This crisis brought Israel to its second nuclear alert.

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, obviously not at his best at a press briefing, was, according to Time magazine, rattled enough to later tell the prime minister that “this is the end of the third temple,” referring to an impending collapse of the state of Israel.  “Temple” was also the code word for nuclear weapons.  Prime Minister Golda Meir and her “kitchen cabinet” made the decision on the night of 8 October.  The Israelis assembled 13 twenty-kiloton atomic bombs.  The number and in fact the entire story was later leaked by the Israelis as a great psychological warfare tool.  Although most probably plutonium devices, one source reports they were enriched uranium bombs.  The Jericho missiles at Hirbat Zachariah and the nuclear strike F-4s at Tel Nof were armed and prepared for action against Syrian and Egyptian targets.  They also targeted Damascus with nuclear capable long-range artillery although it is not certain they had nuclear artillery shells.[62]

U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was notified of the alert several hours later on the morning of 9 October.  The U.S. decided to open an aerial resupply pipeline to Israel, and Israeli aircraft began picking up supplies that day.  Although stockpile depletion remained a concern, the military situation stabilized on October 8th and 9th as Israeli reserves poured into the battle and averted disaster.  Well before significant American resupply had reached Israeli forces, the Israelis counterattacked and turned the tide on both fronts.

On 11 October, a counterattack on the Golan broke the back of Syria’s offensive, and on 15 and 16 October, Israel launched a surprise crossing of the Suez Canal into Africa.  Soon the Israelis encircled the Egyptian Third Army and it was faced with annihilation on the east bank of the Suez Canal, with no protective forces remaining between the Israeli Army and Cairo.  The first U.S. flights arrived on 14 October.[63]  Israeli commandos flew to Fort Benning, Georgia to train with the new American TOW anti-tank missiles and return with a C-130 Hercules aircraft full of them in time for the decisive Golan battle.  American commanders in Germany depleted their stocks of missiles, at that time only shared with the British and West Germans, and sent them forward to Israel.[64]

Thus started the subtle, opaque use of the Israeli bomb to ensure that the United States kept its pledge to maintain Israel’s conventional weapons edge over its foes.[65]  There is significant anecdotal evidence that Henry Kissinger told President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to “going nuclear.”[66]

A similar Soviet pipeline to the Arabs, equally robust, may or may not have included a ship with nuclear weapons on it, detected from nuclear trace emissions and shadowed by the Americans from the Dardanelles.  The Israelis believe that the Soviets discovered Israeli nuclear preparations from COSMOS satellite photographs and decided to equalize the odds.[67]  The Soviet ship arrived in Alexandria on either 18 or 23 October (sources disagree), and remained, without unloading, until November 1973.  The ship may have represented a Soviet guarantee to the Arab combatants to neutralize the Israeli nuclear option.[68]  While some others dismiss the story completely, the best-written review article concludes that the answer is “obscure.”  Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev threatened, on 24 October, to airlift Soviet airborne troops to reinforce the Egyptians cut off on the eastern side of the Suez Canal and put seven Soviet airborne divisions on alert.[69]  Recent evidence indicates that the Soviets sent nuclear missile submarines also.[70]  Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine claimed that the two Soviet SCUD brigades deployed in Egypt each had a nuclear warhead.  American satellite photos seemed to confirm this.  The U.S. passed to Israel images of trucks, of the type used to transport nuclear warheads, parked near the launchers.[71]  President Nixon’s response was to bring the U.S. to worldwide nuclear alert the next day, whereupon Israel went to nuclear alert a third time.[72]  This sudden crisis quickly faded as Prime Minister Meir agreed to a cease-fire, relieving the pressure on the Egyptian Third Army.

Shimon Peres had argued for a pre-war nuclear demonstration to deter the Arabs.  Arab strategies and war aims in 1967 may have been restricted because of a fear of the Israeli “bomb in the basement,” the undeclared nuclear option.  The Egyptians planned to capture an eastern strip next to the Suez Canal and then hold.  The Syrians did not aggressively commit more forces to battle or attempt to drive through the 1948 Jordan River border to the Israeli center.  Both countries seemed not to violate Israel proper and avoided triggering one of the unstated Israeli reasons to employ nuclear weapons.[73]  Others discount any Arab planning based on nuclear capabilities.[74]  Peres also credits Dimona with bringing Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem to make peace.[75]  This position was seemingly confirmed by Sadat in a private conversation with Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman.[76]

At the end of the Yom Kippur War (a nation shaking experience), Israel has her nuclear arsenal fully functional and tested by a deployment.  The arsenal, still opaque and unspoken, was no longer a secret, especially to the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.

IV. 1974-1999: Bringing the Bomb up the Basement Stairs

Never Again!

– Reportedly welded on the
first Israeli nuclear bomb[77]

Shortly after the 1973 war, Israel allegedly fielded considerable nuclear artillery consisting of American 175 mm and 203 mm self-propelled artillery pieces, capable of firing nuclear shells.  If true, this shows that Dimona had rapidly solved the problems of designing smaller weapons since the crude 1967 devices.  If true, these low yield, tactical nuclear artillery rounds could reach at least 25 miles.  The Israeli Defense Force did have three battalions of the 175mm artillery (36 tubes), reportedly with 108 nuclear shells and more for the 203mm tubes.  Some sources describe a program to extend the range to 45 miles.  They may have offered the South Africans these low yield, miniaturized, shells described as, “the best stuff we got.”[78]  By 1976, according to one unclassified source, the Central Intelligence Agency believed that the Israelis were using plutonium from Dimona and had 10 to 20 nuclear weapons available.[79]

In 1972, two Israeli scientists, Isaiah Nebenzahl and Menacehm Levin, developed a cheaper, faster uranium enrichment process.  It used a laser beam for isotope separation.  It could reportedly enrich seven grams of Uranium 235 sixty percent in one day.[80]  Sources later reported that Israel was using both centrifuges and lasers to enrich uranium.[81]

Questions remained regarding full-scale nuclear weapons tests.  Primitive gun assembled type devices need no testing.  Researchers can test non-nuclear components of other types separately and use extensive computer simulations.  Israel received data from the 1960 French tests, and one source concludes that Israel accessed information from U.S. tests conducted in the 1950s and early 1960s.  This may have included both boosted and thermonuclear weapons data.[82]  Underground testing in a hollowed out cavern is difficult to detect.  A West Germany Army Magazine, Wehrtechnik, in June 1976, claimed that Western reports documented a 1963 underground test in the Negev.  Other reports show a test at Al-Naqab, Negev in October 1966.[83]

A bright flash in the south Indian Ocean, observed by an American satellite on 22 September 1979, is widely believed to be a South Africa-Israel joint nuclear test.  It was, according to some, the third test of a neutron bomb.  The first two were hidden in clouds to fool the satellite and the third was an accident—the weather cleared.[84]  Experts differ on these possible tests.  Several writers report that the scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory believed it to have been a nuclear explosion while a presidential panel decided otherwise.[85]  President Carter was just entering the Iran hostage nightmare and may have easily decided not to alter 30 years of looking the other way.[86]  The explosion was almost certainly an Israeli bomb, tested at the invitation of the South Africans.  It was more advanced than the “gun type” bombs developed by the South Africans.[87]  One report claims it was a test of a nuclear artillery shell.[88]  A 1997 Israeli newspaper quoted South African deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, as confirming it was an Israeli test with South African logistical support.[89]

Controversy over possible nuclear testing continues to this day.  In June 1998, a Member of the Knesset accused the government of an underground test near Eilat on May 28, 1998.  Egyptian “nuclear experts” had made similar charges.  The Israeli government hotly denied the claims.[90]

Not only were the Israelis interested in American nuclear weapons development data, they were interested in targeting data from U.S. intelligence.  Israel discovered that they were on the Soviet target list.  American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard obtained satellite-imaging data of the Soviet Union, allowing Israel to target accurately Soviet cities.  This showed Israel’s intention to use its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent political lever, or retaliatory capability against the Soviet Union itself.  Israel also used American satellite imagery to plan the 7 June 1981 attack on the Tammuz-1 reactor at Osiraq, Iraq.  This daring attack, carried out by eight F-16s accompanied by six F-15s punched a hole in the concrete reactor dome before the reactor began operation (and just days before an Israeli election).  It delivered 15 delay-fused 2000 pound bombs deep into the reactor structure (the 16th bomb hit a nearby hall).  The blasts shredded the reactor and blew out the dome foundations, causing it to collapse on the rubble.  This was the world’s first attack on a nuclear reactor.[91]

Since 19 September 1988, Israel has worked on its own satellite recon- naissance system to decrease reliance on U.S. sources.  On that day, they launched the Offeq-1 satellite on the Shavit booster, a system closely related to the Jericho-II missile.  They launched the satellite to the west away from the Arabs and against the earth’s rotation, requiring even more thrust.  The Jericho-II missile is capable of sending a one ton nuclear payload 5,000 kilometers.  Offeq-2 went up on 3 April 1990.  The launch of the Offeq-3 failed on its first attempt on 15 September 1994, but was successful 5 April 1995.[92]

Mordechai Vanunu provided the best look at the Israeli nuclear arsenal in 1985 complete with photographs.[93]  A technician from Dimona who lost his job, Vanunu secretly took photographs, immigrated to Australia and published some of his material in the London Sunday Times.  He was subsequently kidnapped by Israeli agents, tried and imprisoned.  His data shows a sophisticated nuclear program, over 200 bombs, with boosted devices, neutron bombs, F-16 deliverable warheads, and Jericho warheads.[94]   The boosted weapons shown in the Vanunu photographs show a sophistication that inferred the requirement for testing.[95]  He revealed for the first time the underground plutonium separation facility where Israel was producing 40 kilograms annually, several times more than previous estimates.  Photographs showed sophisticated designs which scientific experts say enabled the Israelis to build bombs with as little as 4 kilograms of plutonium.  These facts have increased the estimates of total Israeli nuclear stockpiles (see Appendix A).[96]  In the words of one American, “[the Israelis] can do anything we or the Soviets can do.”[97]  Vanunu not only made the technical details of the Israeli program and stockpile public but in his wake, Israeli began veiled official acknowledgement of the potent Israeli nuclear deterrent.  They began bringing the bomb up the basement stairs if not out of the basement.

Israel went on full-scale nuclear alert again on the first day of Desert Storm, 18 January 1991.  Seven SCUD missiles were fired against the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa by Iraq (only two actually hit Tel Aviv and one hit Haifa).  This alert lasted for the duration of the war, 43 days.  Over the course of the war, Iraq launched around 40 missiles in 17 separate attacks at Israel.  There was little loss of life: two killed directly, 11 indirectly, with many structures damaged and life disrupted.[98]  Several supposedly landed near Dimona, one of them a close miss.[99]  Threats of retaliation by the Shamir government if the Iraqis used chemical warheads were interpreted to mean that Israel intended to launch a nuclear strike if gas attacks occurred.  One Israeli commentator recommended that Israel should signal Iraq that “any Iraqi action against Israeli civilian populations, with or without gas, may leave Iraq without Baghdad.”[100]  Shortly before the end of the war the Israelis tested a “nuclear capable” missile which prompted the United States into intensifying its SCUD hunting in western Iraq to prevent any Israeli response.[101]  The Israeli Air Force set up dummy SCUD sites in the Negev for pilots to practice on—they found it no easy task.[102]  American government concessions to Israel for not attacking (in addition to Israeli Patriot missile batteries) were:

  • Allowing Israel to designate 100 targets inside Iraq for the coalition to destroy,
  • Satellite downlink to increase warning time on the SCUD attacks (present and future),
  • “Technical parity with Saudi jet fighters in perpetuity.”[103]

All of this validated the nuclear arsenal in the minds of the Israelis.  In particular the confirmed capability of Arab states without a border with Israel, the so-called “second tier” states, to reach out and touch Israel with ballistic missiles confirmed Israel’s need for a robust first strike capability.][104]  Current military contacts between Israel and India, another nuclear power, bring up questions of nuclear cooperation.[105]  Pakistani sources have already voiced concerns over a possible joint Israeli-Indian attack on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.[106]  A recent Parameters article speculated on Israel’s willingness to furnish nuclear capabilities or assistance to certain states, such as Turkey.[107]   A retired Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Amnon Shahak, has declared, “all methods are acceptable in withholding nuclear capabilities from an Arab state.”[108]

As the Israeli bomb comes out of the basement, open discussion, even in Israel, is occurring on why the Israelis feel they need an arsenal not used in at least two if not three wars.  Avner Cohen states: “It [Israel] must be in a position to threaten another Hiroshima to prevent another holocaust.”[109]  In July 1998 Shimon Peres was quoted in the Jordan Times as saying, “We have built a nuclear option, not in order to have a Hiroshima, but to have an Oslo,”[110] referring to the peace process.

One list of current reasons for an Israeli nuclear capability is:

  • To deter a large conventional attack,
  • To deter all levels of unconventional (chemical, biological, nuclear) attacks,
  • To preempt enemy nuclear attacks,
  • To support conventional preemption against enemy nuclear assets,
  • To support conventional preemption against enemy non-nuclear (conventional, chemical, biological) assets,
  • For nuclear warfighting,
  • The “Samson Option” (last resort destruction).[111]

The most alarming of these is the nuclear warfighting.  The Israelis have developed, by several accounts, low yield neutron bombs able to destroy troops with minimal damage to property.[112]  In 1990, during the Second Gulf War, an Israeli reserve major general recommended to America that it “use non-contaminating tactical nuclear weapons” against Iraq.[113]  Some have speculated that the Israelis will update their nuclear arsenal to “micronukes” and “tinynukes” which would be very useful to attack point targets and other tactical or barrier (mining) uses.[114]  These would be very useful for hardened deeply buried command and control facilities and for airfield destruction without exposing Israeli pilots to combat.[115]  Authors have made the point that Israeli professional military schools do not teach nuclear tactics and would not use them in the close quarters of Israel.  Many Israeli officers have attended American military schools where they learned tactical use in crowded Europe.[116]

However, Jane’s Intelligence Review has recently reported an Israeli review of nuclear strategy with a shift from tactical nuclear warheads to long range missiles.[117]  Israel always has favored the long reach, whether to Argentina for Adolph Eichmann, to Iraq to strike a reactor, Entebbe for hostages, Tunisia to hit the PLO, or by targeting the Soviet Union’s cities.  An esteemed Israeli military author has speculated that Israel is pursuing an R&D program to provide MIRVs (multiple independent reentry vehicles) on their missiles.[118]

The government of Israel recently ordered three German Dolphin Class 800 submarine, to be delivered in late 1999.  Israel will then have a second strike capability with nuclear cruise missiles, and this capability could well change the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.[119]  Israeli rhetoric on the new submarines labels them “national deterrent” assets.  Projected capabilities include a submarine-launched nuclear missile with a 350-kilometer range.[120]  Israel has been working on sea launch capability for missiles since the 1960s.[121]  The first basing options for the new second-strike force of nuclear missile capable submarines include Oman, an Arab nation with unofficial Israeli relations, located strategically near Iran.[122]  A report indicates that the Israel Defense Ministry has formally gone to the government with a request to authorize a retaliatory nuclear strike if Israel was hit with first strike nuclear weapons.  This report comes in the wake of a recent Iran Shihab-3 missile test and indications to Israel that Iran is two to three years from a nuclear warhead.[123]  Israeli statements stress that Iran’s nuclear potential would be problem to all and would require “American leadership, with serious participation of the G-7 . . . .”[124]

A recent study highlighted Israel’s extreme vulnerability to a first strike and an accompanying vulnerability even to a false alarm.[125]  Syria’s entire defense against Israel seems to rest on chemical weapons and warheads.[126]   One scenario involves Syria making a quick incursion into the Golan and then threatening chemical strikes, perhaps with a new, more lethal (protective-mask-penetrable) Russian nerve gas if Israel resists.[127]  Their use would drive Israel to nuclear use.  Israeli development of an anti- missile defense, the Arrow, a fully fielded (30-50[128]) Jericho II ballistic missile, and the soon-to-arrive strategic submarine force, seems to have produced a coming change in defense force structure.  The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, quotes the Israeli Chief of Staff discussing the establishment of a “strategic command to . . . prepare an adequate response to the long term threats. . . ”[129]

The 1994 accord with Jordan, allowing limited Israeli military presence in Jordanian skies, could make the flying distance to several potential adversaries considerably shorter.[130]  Israel is concerned about Iran’s desire to obtain nuclear weapons and become a regional leader, coupled with large numbers of Shiite Moslems in southern Lebanon.  The Israeli Air Force commanding general issued a statement saying Israel would “consider an attack” if any country gets “close to achieving a nuclear capability.”[131]  The Israelis are obviously considering actions capable of stopping such programs and are buying aircraft such as the F-15I with sufficient operational range.  At the first delivery of these 4,000 kilometer range fighters, the Israeli comment was, “the aircraft would help counter a growing nuclear threat.”[132]  They consider such regional nation nuclear programs to be a sufficient cause for war.  Their record of accomplishment is clear: having hit the early Iraqi nuclear effort, they feel vindicated by Desert Storm.  They also feel that only the American and Israeli nuclear weapons kept Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from using chemical or biological weapons against Israel.[133]

Israel, like Iran, has desires of regional power.  The 1956 alliance with France and Britain might have been a first attempt at regional hegemony.  Current debate in the Israeli press considers offering Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and perhaps Syria (after a peace agreement) an Israeli nuclear umbrella of protection.[134]  A nuclear Iran or Iraq might use its nuclear weapons to protect some states in the region, threaten others, and attempt to control oil prices.[135]

Another speculative area concerns Israeli nuclear security and possible misuse.  What is the chain of decision and control of Israel’s weapons?  How susceptible are they to misuse or theft?  With no open, frank, public debate on nuclear issues, there has accordingly been no debate or information on existing safeguards.  This has led to accusations of “monolithic views and sinister intentions.”[1360]  Would a right wing military government decide to employ nuclear weapons recklessly?  Ariel Sharon, an outspoken proponent of “Greater Israel” was quoted as saying, “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”[137]  Could the Gush Emunim, a right wing religious organization, or others, hijack a nuclear device to “liberate” the Temple Mount for the building of the third temple?  Chances are small but could increase as radicals decry the peace process.[138]  A 1997 article reviewing the Israeli Defense Force repeatedly stressed the possibilities of, and the need to guard against,  a religious, right wing military coup, especially as the proportion of religious in the military increases.[139 ]

Israel is a nation with a state religion, but its top leaders are not religious Jews.  The intricacies of Jewish religious politics and rabbinical law do affect their politics and decision processes.  In Jewish law, there are two types of war, one obligatory and mandatory (milkhemet mitzvah) and the one authorized but optional (milkhemet reshut).[140]  The labeling of Prime Minister Begin’s “Peace for Galilee” operation as a milchemet brera (“war of choice”) was one of the factors causing it to lose support.[141]  Interpretation of Jewish law concerning nuclear weapons does not permit their use for mutual assured destruction.  However, it does allow possession and threatening their use, even if actual use is not justifiable under the law.  Interpretations of the law allow tactical use on the battlefield, but only after warning the enemy and attempting to make peace.  How much these intricacies affect Israeli nuclear strategy decisions is unknown.[142]

The secret nature of the Israeli nuclear program has hidden the increasing problems of the aging Dimona reactor and adverse worker health effects.  Information is only now public as former workers sue the government.  This issue is now linked to continued tritium production for the boosted anti-tank and anti-missile nuclear warheads that Israeli continues to need.  Israel is attempting to obtain a new, more efficient, tritium production technology developed in India.[143]

One other purpose of Israeli nuclear weapons, not often stated, but obvious, is their “use” on the United States.  America does not want Israel’s nuclear profile raised.[144]  They have been used in the past to ensure America does not desert Israel under increased Arab, or oil embargo, pressure and have forced the United States to support Israeli diplomatically against the Soviet Union.  Israel used their existence to guarantee a continuing supply of American conventional weapons, a policy likely to continue.[145]

Regardless of the true types and numbers (see Appendix A) of Israeli nuclear weapons, they have developed a sophisticated system, by myriad methods, and are a nuclear power to be reckoned with.  Their nuclear ambiguity has served their purposes well but Israel is entering a different phase of visibility even as their nuclear capability is entering a new phase.  This new visibility may not be in America’s interest.[146]  Many are predicting the Israeli nuclear arsenal will become less useful “out of the basement” and possibly spur a regional arms race.  If so, Israel has a 5-10 year lead time at present before mutual assured destruction, Middle East style, will set in.  Would regional mutual second strike capability, easier to acquire than superpower mutual second strike capability, result in regional stability?  Some think so.[147]   Current Israeli President Ezer Weizman has stated “the nuclear issue is gaining momentum [and the] next war will not be conventional.[148]

Appendix A

Estimates of the Israeli Nuclear Arsenal

Notes

1.  Hersh, Seymour M.,  The Samson Option.  Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (New York: Random House, 1991), 223.

2.  Aronson, Slomo and Brosh, Oded,  The Politics and Strategy of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East, the Opacity Theory, and Reality, 1960-1991-An Israeli Perspective (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1992), 20.

3.  Karsh, Efraim,  Between War and Peace: Dilemmas of Israeli Security (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 82.

4.  Cohen, Avner,  Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 16.

5.  Cordesman, Anthony,  Perilous Prospects: The Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli Military Balance (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996), 118.

6.  Pry, Peter,  Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal (Boulder, Colorado: Westview, 1984), 5-6.

7.  Quoted in Weissman, Steve and Krosney, Herbert.  The Islamic Bomb: The Nuclear Threat to Israel and the Middle East.  (New York, New York: Times Books, 1981), 105.

8.  “Former Official Says France Helped Build Israel’s Dimona Complex.”  Nucleonics Week October 16, 1986, 6.

9.  Milhollin, Gary,  “Heavy Water Cheaters.”  Foreign Policy (1987-88): 101-102.

10.  Cordesman, 1991, 127.

11.  Federation of American Scientists,  “Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Program.” 10 December 1997, n.p.  On-line.  Internet, 27 October 1998.  Available from http://www.fas.org/nuke/hew/Israel/Isrhist.html.

12.  Nashif, Taysir N.,  Nuclear Weapons in Israel (New Delhi: S. B. Nangia Books, 1996), 3.

13.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, 48-49.

14.  Bennett, Jeremy,  The Suez Crisis.  BBC Video.  n.d.  Videocassette and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi.  Every Spy a Prince.  The Complete History of Israel’s Intelligence Community.  (Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990), 63-69.

15.  Weissman and Krosney, 112.

16.  “Revealed: The Secrets of Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal” (London) Sunday Times No. 8,461, 5 October 1986, 1, 4-5.

17.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, 57-59.

18.  Peres, Shimon,  Battling for Peace.  A Memoir (New York, New York: Random House, 1995), 122.

19.  Pry, 10.

20.  Loftus, John and Aarons, Mark,  The Secret War Against the Jews.  How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (New York, New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994), 287-303.

21.  Green, Stephen,  Taking Sides.  America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1984), 152.

22.  Cohen, Avner,  “Most Favored Nation.”  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 51, no. 1 (January-February 1995): 44-53.

23.  Hersh, The Samson Option, 196.

24.  See Cohen, Avner,  “Israel’s Nuclear History: The Untold Kennedy-Eshkol Dimona Correspondence.”  Journal of Israeli History, 1995 16, no. 2, 159-194 and Cohen, Avner, Comp.  “Recently Declassified 1963 Correspondence between President Kennedy and Prime Ministers Ben-Gurion and Eshkol.”  Journal of Israeli History, 1995 16, no. 2, 195-207.  Much of the documentation has been posted to http:\www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive/israel.

25.  Weissman  and Krosney, op. cit.,114-117

26.  Cohen, op. cit.,  Israel and the Bomb, 82-83.

27.  Spector, Leonard S.,  The Undeclared Bomb (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger Publishers, 1988), 387 (n.22).

28.  Quoted in Stevens, Elizabeth.  “Israel’s Nuclear Weapons—A Case Study.”  14 pages.  On line. Internet, 23 October 1998.  Available from
http://infomanage.com/nonproliferation/najournal/israelinucs.html.

29.  Green, Taking Sides, 148-179 and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, 1990, 197-198.

30.  Weissman and Krosney, 119-124.

31.  Black, Ian and Morris, Benny,  Israel’s Secret Wars.  A history of Israel’s Intelligence Services (New York, New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), 418-419.

32.  Hersh,  257.

33.  Green, Stephen,  Living by the Sword: America and Israel in the Middle East, 1968-1987 (London: Faber, 1988), 63-80.

34.  Cordesman, 1991, 120.

35.  Weissman and Krosney, 124-128 and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, 1990, 198-199.

36.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, 395(n. 57).98-199

37.  Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, 1990, 58.

38.  Milhollin, 100-119.

39.  Stanghelle, Harold,  “Israel to sell back 10.5 tons.”  Arbeiderbladet, Oslo, Norway, 28 June 1990 in: Center for Nonproliferation Studies, “Nuclear Developments,” 28 June 1990, 34-35; on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

40.  Hersh, op. cit., 139.

41.  Center for Nonproliferation Studies.  “Israeli Friends,” ISIS Report, May 1994, 4; on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

42.  Abecasis, Rachel,  “Uranium reportedly offered to China, Israel.”  Radio Renascenca, Lisbon, 9 December 1992 quoted in Center for Nonproliferation, “Proliferation Issues,” 23 December, 1992, 25; on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

43.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, op. cit., 231-232 and 256-257.

44.  Nordeen, Lon O., Nicolle, David,  Phoenix over the Nile (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1996), 192-193.

45.  O’Balance, Edgar, The Third Arab-Israeli War (London: Faber and Faber, 1972), 54.

46.  Brecher, Michael, Decision in Crisis.  Israel, 1967 and 1973 (Berkley, California: University of California Press, 1980), 104, 230-231.

47.  Cohen, Avner.  “Cairo, Dimona, and the June 1967 War.”  Middle East Journal 50, no. 2 (Spring 1996), 190-210.

48.  Creveld, Martin van.  The Sword and the Olive.  A Critical History of the Israeli Defense Force (New York, New York: Public Affairs, 1998), 174.

49.  Burrows, William E. and Windrem, Robert, Critical Mass.  The Dangerous Race for Superweapons in a Fragmenting World (New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), 282-283.

50.  Aronson, Shlomo,  Israel’s Nuclear Options, ACIS Working Paper No. 7. Los Angeles, California: University of California Center for Arms Control and International Security, 1977, 3, and Sorenson, David S., “Middle East Regional Studies-AY99,”  Air War College: Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, 542.

51.  Hersh, op. cit., 126-128.

52.  Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, op. cit., 210-213.

53.  Spector, Leonard S.,  “Foreign-Supplied Combat Aircraft: Will They Drop the Third World Bomb?”  Journal of International Affairs 40, no. 1(1986): 145 (n. 5) and Green, Living by the Sword, op. cit., 18-19.

54.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 280.

55.  Cohen, op. cit.,  Israel and the Bomb, 237.

56.  Ibid.,  273-274.

57.  Milhollin, op. cit., 103-104.

58.  Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, Friend in Deed:  Inside the U.S.-Israel Alliance (New York New York: Hyperion, 1994), 299.

59.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 464-465 and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, op. cit., 1990, 304-305.

60.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, op. cit., 179.

61.  Dowty, Alan.  “Israel and Nuclear Weapons.”  Midstream 22, no. 7 (November 1976), 8-9.

62.  Hersh, op. cit., 217, 222-226, and Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 107.

63.  Green, op. cit., Living by the Sword, 90-99.

64.  Loftus and Aarons, op. cit., 316-317.

65  Smith, Gerard C. and Cobban, Helena.  “A Blind Eye To Nuclear Proliferation.”  Foreign Affairs  68, no. 3(1989), 53-70.

66.  Hersh, op. cit., 230-231.

67.  O’Balance, Edgar, No Victor, No Vanquished.  The Yom Kippur War (San Rafael, California: Presido Press, 1978), 175.

68.  Ibid.,  234-235 and Aronson, S, op. cit., 15-18.

69.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, op. cit., 396 (n. 62); Garthoff, Raymond L.,  Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institute, 1994), 426, n76 and Bandmann, Yona and Cordova, Yishai.  “The Soviet Nuclear Threat Towards the Close of the Yom Kippur War.”  Jerusalem Journal of International Relations 1980 5, no. 1, 107-9.

70.  Cherkashin, Nikolai, “On Moscow’s Orders.”  Russian Life, 39, no. 10 (October 1996), 13-15.

71.  Brownlow, Cecil.  “Soviets poise three-front global drive.  Nuclear weapons in Egypt, artillery buildup at Guantanamo, Communist concentrations in Vietnam aimed at political gains.” Aviation Week and Space Technology 99, no. 19 (5 November 1973), 12-14; Holt, Robert.  “Soviet Power Play.”  Aviation Week and Space Technology 99, no. 19 (5 November 1973), 7 and Gur-Arieh, Danny, “A non-Conventional Look at Israel During ’73 War.”  IsraelWire Tuesday, October 6, 1998 17, 23; on-line, Internet 20 November 1998, available from http://www.israelwire.com/new/981006/9810068.html.

72.  Hersh, op. cit., 321-235.

73.  Creveld, 1998, op. cit., 220-221.

74.  Evron, Yair, Israel’s Nuclear Dilemma (Ithaca, New York: Cornell Publishing, 1994), 62-74.

75.  Cohen, Avner,  “Peres:  Peacemaker, Nuclear Pioneer.”  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  52, no. 3 (May/June 1996), 16-17 and Aronson, S, op. cit., 11-12.

76.  Karsh, op. cit., 86.

77.  Quoted in Hersh, op. cit., 180 and Stevens, op. cit., 1-14.

78.  Hersh, op. cit., 216, 276 and  Kaku, Michio.  “Contingency Plans: Nuclear Weapons after the Cold War.”  In Altered States: A Reader in the New World Order, Bennis, Phyllis and Moushabeck, Michel, Eds. (New York, New York: 1993), 66.

79.  Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 109.

80.  Gillette, Robert, “Uranium Enrichment: Rumors of Israeli Progress with Lasers.”  Science 183, no. 4130 (22 March 1974), 1172-1174.

81.  Barnaby, Frank, The Invisible Bomb:  The Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 1988), 25.

82.  “Israel: The Covert Connection.”  Frontline, PBS Network, May 16, 1989, quoted in Spector, Leonard S., and McDonough, Mark G., with Medeiros, Evan S.,  Tracking Nuclear Proliferation.  A Guide in Maps and Charts, 1995 (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1995).

83.  Nashif, Taysir N., Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East: Dimensions and Responsibilities (Princeton, New Jersey: Kingston Press, 1984), 22-23.

84.  Hersh, op. cit., 216.

85.  Barnaby, Frank,  “Capping Israel’s Nuclear Volcano,” Between War and Peace.  Dilemmas of Israeli Security, edited by Efraim Karsh (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 98.

86.  Hersh, op. cit., 271-275.

87.  Nashif, op. cit., 32.

88.  Gaffney, Mark, Dimona:  The Third Temple?  The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation (Brattleboro, Vermont: Amana Books, 1989), 100-101.

89.  Pedatzur, Re’uven, “South African Statement On Nuclear Test Said to Serve Israel,”  Ha’aretz, 29 July 1997.  On line:  Internet, 22 November 1998 and Kelley, Robert.  “The Iraqi and South African Nuclear W”ôNuclear Abstracts,” 1 March 1996, or on-line, Internet, 22 November 1998, both available from http://cns.miis.edu.

90.  “Was there a Nuclear Test near Eilat?”  IsraelWire, 16 June 1998, or on line Internet, 22 November, 1998, available from http://www.israelwire.com and “Deputy Defense Minister Denies Israeli Nuclear Testing.”  Israeli Wire, June 18, 1998, or on-line.  Internet, 13 October 1998, available from http://www.israelwire.com/New/980618/9806184.html.

91.  McKinnon, Dan.  Bullseye One Reactor.  The Story of Israel’s Bold Surprise Air Attack That Destroyed Iraqi’s Nuclear Bomb Facility (Shrewsbury, England: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1987).

92.  “Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Report on the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Moscow, 1993.”  Journal of Palestine Studies XXII, no. 4 (Summer 1993): 135-140; Creveld, Martin van,  Nuclear Proliferation and the Future Of Conflict (New York: The Free Press, 1993), 105; and Clark, Philip. “ôThird successful Israeli satellite launch.”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 7, no. 6 (June 1995), 25-26.

93.  Sunday Times, London, op. cit., 1,4-5.

94.  Toscano, Louis,  Triple Cross: Israel, the Atomic Bomb and the Man Who Spilled the Secrets (New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1990).

95.  Green, Living by the Sword, op. cit., 134.

96.  Spector, The Undeclared Bomb, op. cit., 165-166.

97.  Hersh, op. cit., 291.

98.  Levran, Aharon,  Israeli Strategy after Desert Storm: Lessons from the Second Gulf War (London: Frank Cass, 1997), 1-10.

99.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 278.

100.  Cohen, Avner and Miller, Marvin,  Nuclear Shadows in the Middle East: Prospects for Arms Control in the Wake of the Gulf Crisis (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990), 10.

101.  Aronson and Brosh, op. cit., 276.

102.  Raviv and Melman, op. cit., 399.

103.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 297n and Creveld, 1998, op. cit., 321-322.

104.  Levran, op. cit., 8-10.

105.  Ahmar, Moonis,  “Pakistan and Israel: Distant Adversaries or Neighbors?”  Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, 1996, 20, no.1, 43-44.

106.  “Nuclear proliferation didn’t start in 1998 . . .and not in Pakistan nor with Islam,”  Middle East Realities, or on-line,  Internet, 21 September 1998, available from http://www.middleeast.org/1998_06_28.htm.

107.  Garrity, Patrick J.  “The Next Nuclear Questions.”  Parameters, XXV, no. 4 (Winter 1995-96), 92-111.

108.  Cohen, Eliezer.  Israel’s best defense: the First Full Story of the Israeli Air Force,  (New York, New York: Random House, 1993), 495.

109.  Cohen and Miller, op. cit., 18.

110.  “Before Meeting with King, Peres Claims Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal was built for Peace,” Jordan Times, July 14, 1998.  Quoted in Sorenson, op. cit., 542.

111.  Beres, Louis Rene,  “Israel’s Bomb in the Basement: A revisiting of `Deliberate Ambiguity’ vs. `Disclosure’, Between War and Peace:  Dilemmas of Israeli Security, edited by Efraim Harsh (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 113-133.

112.  Hersh, op. cit., 319.

113.  Amos, Deborah, Lines in the Sand: Desert Storm and the Remaking of the Arab World (New York, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 105.

114.  Dowler, Thomas W. and Howard II, Joseph H., “Countering the threat of the well-armed tyrant: A modest proposal for small nuclear weapons,”  Strategic Review, XIX, no. 4 (Fall 1991), 34-40.

115.  Beres, Louis Rene,  “Israel’s bomb in the basement: A revisiting of `Deliberate Ambiguity’ vs. `Disclosure.’ ”  In Karsh, Efraim, op. cit., Editor,  Between War and Peace: Dilemmas of Israeli Security (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 116.

116.  Cordesman, op. cit., 1996, 265.

117.  Hough, Harold, “Israel reviews its nuclear deterrent,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 10, no.11 (November 1998), 11-13.

118.  Creveld, op. cit., 1993, 105.

119.  Burrows, and Windrem, op. cit., 311-312 and “Israel begins test of nuclear missile submarines,”  The Irish Times, July 2, 1998, or on-line, Internet, 24 December 1998,  available from http://www.irish-times.com/irish-times/paper/1998/0702/wor13.html.

120.  Melman, Yossi, “Swimming with the Dolphins,”  Ha’aretz, Tuesday, June 9, 1998, and “Report: Israel to get Subs with Nuclear Strike Capability,”  Jerusalem Post, I July 3, 1998, 3 and Sorenson, op. cit., 543.

121.  Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, op. cit., 1990, 344-345, 422-423.

122.  Shahak, Israel,  Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies (London: Pluto Press, 1997), 72-73.

123.  Davis, Douglas,  “Defense Officials Said Urging Nuclear Second-Strike Capability,”  Jerusalem Post, 6 August 1998, 3; or on-line, Internet, 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

124.  Inbar, Efraim, “Israel’s security in a new international environment,” in Karsh, Efraim, Editor, Between War and Peace: Dilemmas of Israeli Security (London, England: Frank Cass, 1996), 41.

125.  Hough, Harold,  “Could Israel’s Nuclear Assets Survive a First Strike?”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, September 1997, 407-410.

126.  Terrill, W. Andrew,  “The Chemical Warfare Legacy of the Yemen War.”  Comparative Strategy, 10 (1991), 109-119.

127.  Boyne, Sean, “Across the Great Divide.  Will Assad go for the Golan?”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, 10, no. 4 (April 1998), 21-24 and Cordesman, 1996, op. cit., 254.

128.  Cordesman, op. cit., 1996, 243.

129,  Harel, Amos and Barzilai, Amnon,  “Mordechai says Arrow alone cannot protect against missiles,”  Ha’aretz, 13 January 1999, or on-line,  Internet, 13 January 1999,  available from http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/htmls/3_9.htm

130.  Shahak, op. cit., 78-79.

131.  Chubin, Shahram, “Does Iran Want Nuclear Weapons?”  Survival 37, no. 1 (Spring 1995), 91-93.

132.  O’Sullivan, Arich, “New F-15I Warplanes Expand Israel’s Reach,” The Jerusalem Post, 19 January 1997, or on-line, Internet 22 November 1998, available from http://www.jpost.co.il.

133.  Karsh, op. cit., 9.

134.  Shahak, op. cit., 4-5.

135.  Garrity, op. cit., 92-111.

136.  Dowty, op. cit., 8.

137.  Gaffney, op. cit., 165.

138.  Ibid., 37-38 and Friedman, Robert I.  Zealots for Zion:  Inside Israel’s West Bank Settlement Movement (New York, New York: Random House, 1992), 132-52.

139.  Blanche, Ed,  “Is the Myth Fading for the Israeli Army? — Part 1.”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, 8, no. 12 (December 1996), 547-550 and Blanche, Ed.  “Is the myth fading for the Israeli Army? — Part 2,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 9, no. 1 (January 1997), 25-28.

140.  Cohen, Stuart A.,  The Scroll or the Sword?  Dilemmas of Religion and Military Service in Israel (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1997), 11-24.

141.  Creveld, op. cit., 1998, 298.

142.  Broyde, Michael J.,  “Fighting the War and the Peace: Battlefield Ethics, Peace Talks, Treaties, and Pacifism in the Jewish Tradition,” or on-line,  Internet, 20 November 1998, available from http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/war3.html.

143.  Hough, Harold, op. cit., 1998, 11-12 and Berger, Julian,  “Court Fury At Israeli Reactor.”  Guardian, 13 October 1997, in Center for Nonproliferation, “Nuclear Abstracts,” 13 October 1997, or on-line, Internet, 22 November 1998, available from http://cns.miis.edu.

144.  Creveld, op. cit., 1998, 252.

145.  Valry, Nicholas,  “Israel’s Silent Gamble with the Bomb,”  New Scientist (12 December 1974), 807-09.

146.  Harden, Major James D.,  Israeli Nuclear Weapons and War in the Middle East,  Master’s Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, December 1997.

147.  Dowdy, op. cit., 20.

148.  Aronson, Geoffrey,  “Hidden Agenda: US-Israeli Relations and the Nuclear Question,” Middle East Journal, 46, no. 4 (Autumn 1992), 619-630.

149.  Data from Time, 12 April 1976, quoted in Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 107.

150.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 280 and Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, op. cit., 273-274.

151.  Tahtinen, Dale R.,  The Arab-Israel Military Balance Today (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1973), 34.

152.  “How Israel Got the Bomb.”  Time, 12 April 1976, 39.

153.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 302.

154.  Kaku, op. cit., 66 and Hersh, op. cit., 216.

155.  Valéry, op. cit., 807-09.

156.  Data from CIA, quoted in Weissman and Krosney, op. cit., 109.

157.  Ottenberg, Michael, “Estimating Israel’s Nuclear Capabilities,” Command, 30 (October 1994), 6-8.

158.  Pry, op. cit., 75.

159.  Ibid., 111.

160.  Data from NBC Nightly News, quoted in Milhollin, op. cit., 104 and Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 308.

161.  Data from Vanunu quoted in Milhollin, op. cit., 104.

162.  Harkavy, Robert E.  “After the Gulf War: The Future of the Israeli Nuclear Strategy,” The Washington Quarterly (Summer 1991), 164.

163.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 308.

164.  Albright, David, Berkhout, Frans and Walker, William, Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1996.  World Inventories, Capabilities, and Policies (New York: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute And Oxford University Press, 1997), 262-263.

165.  Hough, Harold,  “Israel’s Nuclear Infrastructure,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review 6, no. 11 (November 1994), 508.

166.  Ibid., 262-263.

167.  Spector, and McDonough, with Medeiros, op. cit., 135.

168.  Burrows and Windrem, op. cit., 283-284.

169.  Cordesman, op. cit., 1996, 234.

170.  Ibid., 234.

171.  Ibid., 230, 243.

172.  Brower, Kenneth S., “A Propensity for Conflict:  Potential Scenarios and Outcomes of War in the Middle East,”  Jane’s Intelligence Review, Special Report no. 14,  (February 1997), 14-15.

173.  Albright, Berkhout, and Walker, op. cit., 262-263.

USAF Counterproliferation Center

The USAF Counterproliferation Center was established in 1998 to provide education and research to the present and future leaders of the USAF, and thereby help them better prepare to counter the threat from weapons of mass destruction.

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BELOW: Israeli nuclear bomb factory

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BELOW: IKONOS image of the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona

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See the image at: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/spiesfly/phot_09.html

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Israel’s Bomb out of the Shadows

Nuclear Offer to Apartheid Regime Blows Diplomatic Cover

by Jonathan Cook
May 26th, 2010,
Dissident voice

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 to a statement with other UN Security Council members calling for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear arms.

The policy is chiefly aimed at Iran, which is believed by the US and Israel to be secretly developing a nuclear bomb, but would also risk ensnaring Israel. The US has supported Israel’s ambiguity policy since the late 1960s.

Oversight of Israel’s programme is also due to be debated at a meeting of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna next month.

The administration of US President Barack Obama is reported to have held high-level discussions with Israel at the weekend to persuade it to consent to proposals for a 2012 conference to outlaw weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

As pressure mounts on Israel, local analysts have been debating the benefits of maintaining the ambiguity policy, with most warning that an erosion of the principle would lead inexorably to Israel being forced to dismantle its arsenal.

Echoing the Israeli security consensus, Yossi Melman, a military intelligence correspondent for the Haaretz newspaper, also cautioned that declaring Israel’s nuclear status “would play into Iran’s hands” by focusing attention on Tel Aviv rather than Tehran.

Israel refused to sign the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, having developed its first warhead a few years earlier with help from Britain and France.

Tom Segev, an Israeli historian, reported that Israel briefly considered showing its nuclear hand in 1967 when Shimon Peres, Israel’s current president, proposed publicly conducting a nuclear test to prevent the impending Six-Day War. However, the test was overruled by Levi Eshkol, the prime minister of the time.

Mr Peres, who master-minded the nuclear programme, later formulated the policy of ambiguity, in which Israel asserts only that it will “not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East”.

That stance — and a promise not to conduct nuclear tests — was accepted by the US administration of Richard Nixon in 1969.

According to analysts, the agreement between Israel and the US was driven in part by concerns that Washington would not be able to give Israel foreign aid — today worth billions of dollars — if Israel declared itself a nuclear state but refused international supervision.

Nonetheless, revelations over the years have made it increasingly difficult for the international community to turn a blind eye to Israel’s arsenal.

Mordechai Vanunu, a technician at the Dimona nuclear energy plant in the Negev, provided photographic evidence and detailed descriptions of the country’s weapons programme in 1986. Today the Israeli arsenal is estimated at more than 200 warheads.

In 2006 Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister, let slip Israel’s nuclear status during an interview with German TV when he listed “America, France, Israel and Russia” as countries with nuclear arms.

Even more damaging confirmation was provided this week by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which published documents unearthed for a new book — The Unspoken Alliance by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, an American historian — on relations between Israel and South Africa’s apartheid regime.

The top-secret papers reveal that in 1975 Mr Peres, then Israel’s defence minister, met with his South African counterpart, P. W. Botha, to discuss selling the regime nuclear-armed missiles. The deal fell through partly because South Africa could not afford the weapons. Pretoria later developed its own bomb, almost certainly with Israel’s help.

Israel, Mr Polakow-Suransky said, had fought to prevent declassification of the documents.

Despite publication by the Guardian of a photographed agreement bearing the date and the signatures of both Mr Peres and Mr Botha, Mr Peres’ office issued a statement on Monday denying the report.

Israel’s increasingly transparent nuclear status is seen as an obstacle to US efforts both to impose sanctions on Iran and to damp down a wider potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

This month the US surprised officials in Tel Aviv by failing to keep Israel’s nuclear programme off the agenda of the IAEA’s next meeting, on June 7. The issue has only ever been discussed twice before, in 1988 and 1991.

Aware of the growing pressure of Israel to come clean, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, declined an invitation to attend a nuclear security conference in Washington last month at which participants had threatened to question Israel about its arms.

At the meeting, US President Barack Obama called on all countries, including Israel, to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A draft declaration being considered at the UN review conference later this week again demands that Israel — and two other states known to have nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan — sign the treaty.

Egypt has proposed that the 189 states that have signed the treaty, including the US, pledge not to transfer nuclear equipment, information, material or professional help to Israel until it does so.

Reuven Pedatzur, an Israeli defence analyst, warned recently in Haaretz that there was a danger the Egyptian proposal might be adopted by the US, or that it might be used as a stick to browbeat a recalcitrant Israel into accepting greater limitations on its arsenal. He suggested ending what he called the “ridiculous fiction” of the ambiguity policy.

Emily Landau, an arms control expert at Tel Aviv University, however, said that those who believed Israel should be more transparent were “misguided”. Ending ambiguity, she said, would eventually lead to calls for Israel’s “total and complete disarmament”.

The last Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, five years ago, failed when the US repudiated pledges to disarm and refused to pressure Israel over its nuclear programme.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan’s website

http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/israel%E2%80%99s-bomb-out-of-the-shadows/

http://islamdaily.org/en/Contents.aspx?AID=8453

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Jewish rabbinic text or a call to terror

[www.haaretz.com ]

Last update – 11:02 22/01/2010

The King’s Torah: a rabbinic text or a call to terror?  By Daniel Estrin, The Forward  Tags: Israel news

The marble-patterned, hardcover book embossed with gold Hebrew letters looks like any other religious commentary you’d find in an Orthodox Judaica bookstore – but reads like a rabbinic instruction manual outlining acceptable scenarios for killing non-Jewish babies, children and adults.

The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’ applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew,” write Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them ?curb their evil inclination,? while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since ?it is clear that they will grow to harm us.?

“The King’s Torah (Torat Hamelech), Part One: Laws of Life and Death between Israel and the Nations,” a 230-page compendium of Halacha, or Jewish religious law, published by the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar, garnered a front-page exposé in the Israeli tabloid Ma’ariv, which called it the stuff of ?Jewish terror.?

Now, the yeshiva is in the news again, with a January 18 raid on Yitzhar by more than 100 Israeli security officials who forcibly entered Od Yosef Chai and arrested 10 Jewish settlers. The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, suspects five of those arrested were involved in the torching and vandalizing of a Palestinian mosque last month in the neighboring Palestinian village of Yasuf. The arson provoked an international outcry and condemnation by Israeli religious figures, including Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who visited the village to personally voice his regret.

Yet, both Metzger and his Sephardic counterpart, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, have declined to comment on the book, which debuted in November, while other prominent rabbis have endorsed it – among them, the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Sephardic Jewry’s preeminent leader. Also, despite the precedent set by previous Israeli attorneys general in the last decade and a half to file criminal charges against settler rabbis who publish commentaries supporting violence against non-Jews, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has so far remained mum about “The King’s Torah.”

“Sometimes the public arena deals with the phenomenon and things become settled by themselves,” Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen told the Forward.

A coalition of religious Zionist groups, the “Twelfth of Heshvan,” ? named after the Hebrew date of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, has asked Israel’s Supreme Court to order Mazuz to confiscate the books and arrest its authors.

“You open the book, and you feel that you read a halachic book. And it’s a trap,” said Gadi Gvaryahu, a religious Jewish educator who heads the coalition. It was, in fact, “a guidebook [on] how to kill,” he charged.

Family members who answered phone calls placed to the homes of both authors said they did not wish to comment.

In 2008, author Shapira was suspected of involvement in a crude rocket attack directed at a Palestinian village. Israeli police investigated but made no arrests.

Co-author Elitzur wrote an article in a religious bulletin a month after the book’s release saying that “the Jews will win with violence against the Arabs.”

In 2003, the head of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, was charged by then-Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein with incitement to racism for authoring a book calling Arabs a “cancer.”

In 2006-2007, the Israeli Ministry of Education gave about a quarter of a million dollars to the yeshiva, and in 2007-2008 the yeshiva received about $28,000 from the American nonprofit Central Fund of Israel.

“The King’s Torah” reflects a fringe viewpoint held by a minority of rabbis in the West Bank, said Avinoam Rosenak, a Hebrew University professor specializing in settler theology. Asher Cohen, a Bar Ilan University political science professor, thought its influence would be “zero” because it appeals only to extreme ideologues.

But the book’s wide dissemination and the enthusiastic endorsements of prominent rabbis have spotlighted what might have otherwise remained an isolated commentary.

At the entrance to Moriah, a large Jewish bookstore steps from the Western Wall, copies of “The King’s Torah” were displayed with children?s books and other halachic commentaries. The store manager, who identified himself only as Motti, said the tome has sold “excellently.”

Other stores carrying the book include Robinson Books, a well-known, mostly secular bookshop in a hip Tel Aviv shopping district; Pomeranz Bookseller, a major Jewish book emporium near the Ben Yehuda mall in downtown Jerusalem; and Felhendler, a Judaica store on the main artery of secular Rehovot, home of the Weizmann Institute.

The yeshiva declined to comment on publication statistics. But Itzik, a Tel Aviv-area book distributor hired by the yeshiva who declined to give his last name because of the book?s nature, said the yeshiva had sold 1,000 copies to individuals and bookstores countrywide. He said an additional 1,000 copies were now being printed.

Mendy Feldheim, owner of Feldheim Publishers, Israel’s largest Judaica publishing house, said he considered this a “nice” sales figure for a tome of rabbinic Halacha in Israel. He said his own company, which distributes to 200 bookstores nationwide, is not distributing “The King’s Torah” because the book’s publishers did not approach the company.

Prominent religious figures wrote letters of endorsement that preface the book. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, blessed the authors and wrote that many “disciples of Torah are unfamiliar with these laws.” The elder Yosef has not commented on his son’s statement.

Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and a respected figure among many mainstream religious Zionists, noted that the book is “very relevant especially in this time.”

Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, one of the country?s most respected rabbinic commentators, initially endorsed the book, but rescinded his approval a month after its release, saying that the book includes statements that “have no place in human intelligence.”

A handful of settler rabbis echoed Goldberg’s censure, including Shlomo Aviner, chief rabbi of Beit El and head of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim, who said he had “no patience” to read the book, and spoke out against it to his students.

Previously, Israel has arrested settler rabbis who publish commentaries supporting the killing of non-Jews. In addition to Ginsburgh, the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva head, in 1994, the government jailed Rabbi Ido Elba of Hebron for writing a 26-page article proclaiming it a “mitzva to kill every non-Jew from the nation that is fighting the Jew, even women and children.”

“The atmosphere has changed,” said Yair Sheleg, senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, who specializes in issues of religion and state. Previous governments took a tougher stance against such publications, he said, but “paradoxically, because the tension between the general settler population and the Israeli judicial system?is high now, the attorney general is careful not to heighten the tension.”

It is not uncommon for some settler rabbis, in the unique conditions of West Bank settlement life, to issue religious decrees, or psakim, that diverge from normative Jewish practice. In 2008, Avi Gisser, considered a moderate rabbi from the settlement of Ofra, ruled that Jews may violate Sabbath laws and hire non-Jews to build hilltop settlements. And In 2002, Yediot Aharanot reported that former Israeli Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu sanctioned Jewish harvesting of Palestinian-owned olive trees.

Contact Daniel Estrin at feedback@forward.com

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1144482.html

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Israel ‘has 150 nuclear weapons’

Mr Carter was speaking at the UK’s Hay-on-Wye literature festival

Ex-US President Jimmy Carter has said Israel has at least 150 atomic weapons in its arsenal.

The Israelis have never confirmed they have nuclear weapons, but this has been widely assumed since a scientist leaked details in the 1980s.

Mr Carter made his comments on Israel’s weapons at a press conference at the annual literary Hay Festival in Wales.

He also described Israeli treatment of Palestinians as “one of the greatest human rights crimes on earth”.

Mr Carter gave the figure for the Israeli nuclear arsenal in response to a question on US policy on a possible nuclear-armed Iran, arguing that any country newly armed with atomic weapons faced overwhelming odds.

“The US has more than 12,000 nuclear weapons; the Soviet Union (sic) has about the same; Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more,” he said.

Israel’s Dimona reactor is understood to provide plutonium for the country’s nuclear weaponsNuclear power in the Middle EastIsraeli PM dismisses nuclear rowIsrael’s nuclear programme

“We have a phalanx of enormous capabilities, not only of weaponry but also of rockets to deliver every one of those missiles on a pinpoint accuracy target.”

Most experts estimate that Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, largely based on information leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper in the 1980s by Mordechai Vanunu, a former worker at the country’s Dimona nuclear reactor.

The US, a key ally of Israel, has in general followed the country’s policy of “nuclear ambiguity”, neither confirming or denying the existence of its assumed arsenal.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert included Israel among a list of nuclear states in comments in December 2006, a week after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates used a similar form of words during a Senate hearing.

Former Israeli military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi-Farkash told Reuters news agency he considered Mr Carter’s comments “irresponsible”.

“The problem is that there are those who can use these statements when it comes to discussing the international effort to prevent Iran getting nuclear weapons,” he said.

‘Imprisonment’

During the press briefing, Mr Carter expressed his support for Israel as a country, but criticised its domestic and foreign policy.

“One of the greatest human rights crimes on earth is the starvation and imprisonment of 1.6m Palestinians,” he said.

The former US president cited statistics which he said showed the nutritional intake of some Palestinian children was below that of children in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as saying the European position on Israel could be best described as “supine”.

Mr Carter, awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, brokered the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the first between Israel and an Arab state.

In April he controversially held talks in the Syrian capital Damascus with Khaled Meshaal, leader of the militant Palestinian movement Hamas.

The former US president’s Carter Center was unavailable for further comment.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7420573.stm

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How US Weapons Grade Uranium was Diverted

to Israel

Declassified GAO Report Exposes

Fatally Flawed Israel Investigations

by Grant Smith, May 10, 2010

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The 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is underway at UN Headquarters in New York. A working paper calls for a nuclear-free Middle East. It would require member states of the NPT to “disclose in their national reports on the implementation of the resolution on the Middle East all information available to them on the nature and scope of Israeli nuclear facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel.” On May 6, 2010, the Government Accountability Office (formerly known as the General Accounting Office) released the previously secret 1978 report “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” [.pdf]. It fills in important historic gaps about weapons-grade uranium diversions from the U.S. to Israel.

U.S. presidents have long acquiesced to “strategic ambiguity” – a policy of neither confirming nor denying that Israel even possesses nuclear weapons. This pretext has allowed the U.S. to deliver the lion’s share of its foreign assistance budget to Israel, despite clear legal prohibitions imposed by the Glenn and Symington amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. UN member countries have long suspected that the United States either turns a blind eye or actively supports the transfer of know-how, weapons-grade uranium, and dual-use technology to Israel. The 62-page General Accounting Office investigation and correspondence confirms the United States refuses to mount credible investigations that would enable warranted prosecutions of the perpetrators.

“Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” investigates the period between 1957 and 1967 when the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) received over 22 tons of uranium-235 – the key material used to fabricate nuclear weapons. NUMEC’s founder and president Zalman M. Shapiro was head of a local Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) chapter and a sales agent for the Defense Ministry of Israel in the U.S. In the early 1960s the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began documenting suspicious lapses in security at NUMEC’s plant at Apollo, Pa. In 1965 an AEC audit found NUMEC could no longer account for over 200 pounds of highly enriched uranium. Subsequent estimates spiraled to almost 600 pounds.

The GAO was chartered by Congress to investigate four allegations about what happened to the uranium. The first was that “the material was illegally diverted to Israel by NUMEC management for use in nuclear weapons.” This was a result of early AEC and FBI investigations into the activities of Zalman Shapiro. The second theory “the material was diverted to Israel by NUMEC management with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)” came from the CIA’s silence and demonstrated lack of interest in the entire matter. The final theories explored by GAO were more general, that “the material was diverted to Israel with the acquiescence of the United States Government” or “there has been a cover-up of the NUMEC incident by the United States Government.”

GAO solicited all available information developed by the CIA, FBI, Department of Energy, and AEC, but was “continually denied necessary reports and documentation … by the CIA and FBI.” GAO attempted to fill in gaps or outright refusals to cooperate by directly interviewing FBI special agents. The GAO also intended to make the report public, in order to respond to growing public concerns. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, who requested the inquiry, was assured six months before it was issued that only the most sensitive areas in the report would be classified. The CIA and FBI insisted that the entire report be classified at the “secret” level over the objections of Dingell, who said, ”I think it is time that the public be informed about the facts surrounding the … affair and the possible diversion of bomb-grade uranium to Israel.”

The GAO report lambastes the FBI’s on-again off-again approach to investigating NUMEC: “The FBI, which had the responsibility and authority to investigate the alleged incident, did not focus on the question of a possible nuclear diversion until May 1976 – nearly 11 years later. Initially, the FBI declined DOE’s request to conduct an investigation of the diversion possibility even though they are required to conduct such investigations under the Atomic Energy Act….”

The FBI’s initial investigation during the 1960s quickly zeroed in on NUMEC management, but FBI recommendations for action were stymied. According to the GAO, “The FBI became so concerned about the security risks posed by NUMEC’s president that they asked DOE whether it planned to terminate his security clearance or stop the flow of materials to NUMEC. According to the FBI’s liaison with GAO, the FBI recommended that NUMEC’s operating license be taken away….” When the FBI request was ignored, it dropped the entire investigation between 1969 and 1976.

It took a direct order from President Gerald Ford in 1976 for the FBI and Department of Justice to “address the diversion aspect.” The renewed investigation soon led to reversals of official U.S. government positions on NUMEC. According to the GAO report, “until the summer of 1977, the only publicized Government view on the NUMEC incident was that there was no evidence to indicate that a diversion of nuclear material had occurred.” By February 1978, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced it had “reconsidered” its previous position that there had been “no evidence” to support diversion.

But the 11-year gap “obviously hampered” the effort. The GAO revealed that the DOE’s nuclear materials safeguards, which before 1967 tracked the monetary value rather than the precise mass of the uranium, were seriously flawed. NUMEC claimed key records covering a period of heavy uranium loss were destroyed during a “labor dispute” in 1964. NUMEC paid a $1.1 million fine for 206 pounds of missing uranium in 1966, which closed the DOE case. NUMEC also hired away one of the DOE’s chief on-site investigators to enhance the appearance of serious materials control and accountability. The GAO found that even by 1978 the FBI had not contacted key individuals in the affair. An FBI agent-in-charge told the GAO it did not investigate the source of funds to pay NUMEC’s DOE fine anticipating “legal difficulties.” So the GAO investigated the matter, placing its own telephone calls to Mellon Bank.

The GAO report is highly critical of the CIA: “From interviews with a former CIA official and with former and current officials and staff of DOE and the FBI we concluded that the CIA did not fully cooperate with DOE or the FBI in attempting to resolve the NUMEC matter.” The report is inconclusive about exactly what happened at NUMEC, but not about the agencies involved in the investigation through 1978. “We believe a timely, concerted effort on the part of these three agencies would have greatly aided and possibly solved the NUMEC diversion questions, if they desired to do so.”

The passage of time has removed any remaining doubts that NUMEC diverted uranium to Israel. Rafael Eitan, who visited NUMEC in 1968, was later revealed as the top Israeli spy targeting U.S. nuclear, national defense, and economic targets when his agent (U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard) was arrested spying for Israel in 1985. According to Anthony Cordesman, “there is no conceivable reason for Eitan to have gone [to the Apollo plant] but for the nuclear material.” CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden called NUMEC “an Israeli operation from the beginning,” a conclusion supported by its startup financing and initial ties to Israeli intelligence. Why both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations failed to credibly investigate NUMEC as a diversion challenge is also now obvious.

John F. Kennedy’s direct diplomatic pressures for U.S. inspections of Israel’s Dimona reactor grew throughout 1962-1963. During a Dec. 27, 1963, meeting with Foreign Minister Golda Meir, Kennedy expressed his hope that the relationship was a “two-way street.” Meir reassured President Kennedy that there “would not be any difficulty between us on the Israeli nuclear reactor.” Kennedy delivered a final ultimatum to Israel on July 5, 1963, insisting that Dimona undergo serial inspections “in accord with international standards” in order to verify its “peaceful intent.” Simultaneously, the Kennedy Justice Department was waging an intense battle behind closed doors to register and regulate Israel’s elite U.S. lobby, the American Zionist Council, which was bringing in funds from overseas to lobby. Kennedy’s assassination in November traumatized the nation and led to the complete and permanent reversal of both initiatives.

According to Avner Cohen, in 1958 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion had arranged with Abraham Feinberg, a “major Democratic fund-raiser,” to secretly finance a nuclear weapons program among “benedictors” in America. Abraham Feinberg, who backed Harry S. Truman’s successful whistle-stop election campaign, was personally succinct about his role in the U.S. political system: “My path to power was cooperation in terms of what they needed – campaign money.” Feinberg opened doors in Congress for up and coming leaders of the Israel lobby, including AIPAC founder Isaiah L. Kenen. According to Seymour Hersh, “there is no question that Feinberg enjoyed the greatest presidential access and influence in his 20 years as a Jewish fund-raiser and lobbyist with Lyndon Johnson. Documents at the Johnson Library show that even the most senior members of the National Security Council understood that any issue raised by Feinberg had to be answered.” His power and role in financing Lyndon B. Johnson’s election prospects temporarily quashed scrutiny of Israel’s nuclear weapons program – in the U.S. and abroad – at a critical moment.

On Oct. 14, 1964, less than three weeks before the 1964 presidential elections, Johnson’s top administrative assistant Walter Jenkins was arrested in a public restroom on sexual solicitation charges. At least $250,000 Abraham Feinberg raised for Johnson was located in Jenkins’ office safe. Johnson phoned his trusted aides Bill Moyers and Myer Feldman with orders to move the cash, which they did with the help of a heavy briefcase. Israel would later replenish Feinberg’s coffers (as it had with Zalman Shapiro through sales commissions) with multi-million dollar favors, such as major ownership in the nation’s Coca-Cola franchise.

In 1968 as Israel noticeably ramped up activities at the Dimona nuclear weapons facility, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford placed a final urgent call to Johnson, “Mr. President, I don’t want to live in a world where the Israelis have nuclear weapons.” President Johnson was abrupt before he hung up on Clifford, “Don’t bother me with this anymore.” By the time Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier lobbied President Nixon to redefine U.S. non-proliferation policy as “ambiguity” toward Israeli nuclear weapons, Israel’s stockpile and number of deployed weapons was steadily growing.

The report reveals why the 2010 Non-Proliferation Review Conference at the UN – like the GAO – isn’t really capable of challenging the true drivers of Middle East nuclear proliferation. “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” is a report so unique and noble in intent that there will probably never be another like it. While it leaves unexplored the ongoing presence, influence, and effect of Israel’s lobbyists working at the center of U.S. presidential administrations, for concerned Americans the GAO provides a snapshot of a moment in time before their Congress, aspiring politicians, and mid-level management of government agencies all “got the memo.”

In 2010 that unwritten memo reads something like this: Crimes committed in the name of Israel – no matter how audacious – will never be properly investigated, let alone prosecuted… so don’t waste your time.

Read more by Grant Smith

http://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2010/05/09/declassified-gao-report/

Israel nuclear threat

Arab states: Israel nuclear danger reinforced by its aggression

Arab states target Israel at UN nuclear debate, urge Israel to join global anti-nuclear arms pact NPT.

By Reuters Tags: Iran Israel nuclear IAEA

Story Highlights

  • Iran, Arab states say Israel main threat in Middle East
  • U.S., Israel deplore ‘divisive’ debate as distraction
  • West says focus could hurt UN nuclear pact initiative

Arab nations backed by Iran urged Israel to join a global anti-nuclear arms pact at a rare and divisive United Nations atomic watchdog debate a day after new sanctions were passed against Tehran.

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh speaking at a meeting of the IAEA board of governors in Vienna on June 10, 2010
Photo by: AP

Israel, presumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons arsenal, condemned the push at the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting on Thursday as being fuelled by countries which question Israel’s existence.

Western countries warned that honing in on Israel could jeopardize broader steps aimed at banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

“What the region needs is to come together in a cooperative, consensual way,” Washington’s envoy Glyn Davies said. “This is not going to happen if the parties of the region engage in name-calling, if they wag fingers at each other.”

It was the first time the IAEA’s policy-making board tackled the topic since 1991, coinciding with wider scrutiny of Israel after its raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy and a UN conference which put its nuclear policy in the spotlight.

“Israel continues to defy the international community through its continued refusal to accede to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” Sudan’s envoy Mahmoud El-Amin told the 35-nation meeting in Vienna on behalf of Arab states.

“The Israeli nuclear danger is reinforced by [its] aggressive policies towards Arab countries,” he said.

By shunning the 40-year-old NPT Israel has not had to reject atomic arms or allow the IAEA to probe all of its nuclear sites. India, Pakistan and North Korea are also outside the NPT.

Signatories of the pact – nearly all of the world’s nations – last month called for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. If realized, the zone could ultimately force Israel to join the treaty.

Iran, angered by a fourth round of UN sanctions passed against it on Wednesday over its nuclear program seized on the debate to accuse the West of “double standards” and discrimination.

Iran rejects Western allegations it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, arguing that its nuclear program has only peaceful aims.

“There is only one potential threat to the security of the region…which is the nuclear weapons capability of Israel,” Iranian ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said.

He said the West’s reluctance to discuss Israel while pressuring Iran was “very worrisome” because it protected those outside the NPT and could provoke members to withdraw from it. He said Iran had no intention of doing this as of now.

Iran is seen by Western nations as an NPT renegade and bomb risk for hiding sensitive nuclear activity. They say Israel is not comparable because it is not in the NPT while Iran is. Many developing nations say that this is precisely the problem.

The IAEA debate on “Israeli nuclear capabilities” was on the agenda at the behest of Arab nations who want watchdog chief Yukiya Amano to help implement an IAEA resolution urging Israel to enter the NPT and put its sites under agency oversight.

Amano said he would report on his progress in September.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/arab-states-israel-nuclear-danger-reinforced-by-its-aggression-1.295362

ISRAELI NUCLEAR THREATS AND BLACKMAIL
The Samson Option Still Threatens the World
by Carol Moore, December 2009 verson

(Please LINK only; do not mirror.  Content changes frequently.)

ISRAEL NUCLEAR TIME LINE
(collected from various sources)

1949:  French and Israel atomic researchers start to exchange information. Israeli Defence Force Science Corps begins two year geological survey of the Negev desert in search of recoverable Uranium.

1952:  Israeli Atomic Energy Commission is created. Its chairman, Ernst David Bergmann of Israel’s Weizman Institute of Science, “the father of Israel’s bomb,” has been promoting nuclear armed missiles for Israel since arriving after World War II. Newly elected President Eisenhower will refuse to sell arms to Israel during his two terms, ending in 1960.  France sells them to Israel from 1955 to 1967.

Israeli nuclear plant at Dimona, top.   Mordechai Vanunu photo bottom. More Vanunu photos from inside Dimona here.
1955: Under Atoms for Peace program, overseen by pro-Israel Lewis Stauss who was head of America’s Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. helps fund a small Israeli nuclear research reactor. Strauss learned about Dimona and its purpose before the U.S. government but did not inform the U.S. government.

1953:  Israeli researchers perfect a process for extracting Uranium, and developing a new method of producing heavy water, which is a key ingredient in the process.  Hundreds of millions of dollars will be raised to build Israel’s nuclear bomb over the next twenty years, mostly from American Jews; effort is led by Abraham Feinberg who financially backs both Presidents Truman and Johnson, as well as presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. (John F. Kennedy accepts his money but is incensed by the pro-Israel lobbying.)

1956: France and Israel formally and secretly agree to build a nuclear reactor in the Negev desert.  Britain, France and  Israel invade Egypt (Suez Canal crisis) and the Soviet Union threatens to use rockets against them if they do not desist, leading to a cease-fire.  U.S. begins U-2 spy flights over targets world wide, including Israel.

1957: France and Israel sign a revised agreement calling for France to build a 24 MWt reactor; unwritten was the agreement to build a plutonium reprocessing plant.

1958: Israel breaks ground at Dimona, with assistance of French scientists and contractors, and U-2 spy planes provide evidence Israelis are building nuclear plant there.

1960: Israeli scientists witness first French atomic explosion in South Pacific. French President Charles DeGaulle threatens to cut off reactor fuel if Israel doesn’t accept international inspections, but eventually accepts Israel’s assertions Dimona is only for peaceful purposes and work continues.  United States intelligence leaks to the press that Israel is building a secret nuclear facility that will eventually produce a nuclear bomb.  Israel admits this to its Parliament and world but claims it is only for peaceful purposes.

1961:  President Kennedy makes the man who leaked Israel’s bomb to the press head of the CIA.  Kennedy is very opposed to Israel having the bomb and tells Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion so in many letters and in meeting in New York about the purpose of Dimona.  Ben-Gurion tells him its purpose is peaceful and refuses to allow international inspections.  Israel launches its first rocket.

1962:  Ben-Gurion allows inspections by American inspectors only in return for sales of Hawk surface-to-air missiles.  Israel builds a fake control room and bricks off parts of buildings to hide from inspectors the true size and purpose of the reactor (three times bigger than admitted) and that it was connected to a plutonium reprocessing plant; this feint continues during seven such inspections until they end in 1969. Reactor at Dimona goes into operation.

1963:  Kennedy refuses to sign any security arrangement with Israel.  After Kennedy assassination brings the very pro-Israel Lyndon Johnson to power.  (Not surprisingly there is an assassination conspiracy theory that the Mossad killed Kennedy.)

1964: Dimona plutonium processing plant goes online.  In first official visit by an Israeli Prime Minister (Eshkol) to Washington, Johnson promises Israel offensive fighter jets and other weapons if it refrains from producing nuclear weapons. Israel’s Eshkol eventually agrees to Johnson’s terms and holds off on producing the bomb for a few years.  China explodes first nuclear bomb.

1965: Israel performs its first plutonium extraction, and France assists Israel in developing its Jericho missiles.

1966:  U.S. begins fighter jet and arms shipments to Israel. Johnson discourages further reports on Israel nuclear situation from U.S. embassy in Israel. Israel refuses money for nuclear desalination plant which is tied to international inspections of Dimona.

1967: Six Day War when Israel pre-emptively attacks an Egyptian military buildup in the Sinai Peninsula.  Israel attacks USS Liberty surveillance vessel, killing 34 sailors; (see BBC allegation below that Israelis wanted to instigate a U.S. nuclear attack on Cairo).  Soviet Union supports Arabs militarily, sends ships to the region and breaks diplomatic ties with Israel.  Americans unofficially inform Israel that the Soviet Union has put four Israeli cities on its nuclear target list.

1968:  Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, believing Israel cannot depend on the U.S. to defend it, unilaterally orders full production of nuclear weapons, averaging four to twelve per year, depending on size.  Israel illicitly imports two hundred tons of uranium.

1969:  President Richard Nixon takes office and fully supports Israel’s nuclear weapons, as does his National Security chief Henry Kissinger. Ends American inspections at Dimona and shares some nuclear targeting information about the Soviet Union. CIA tries to inform President Johnson about Dimona, but he brushes off information, signs Nonproliferation Treaty, and sends Israel advanced Phantom fighter jets.

1973: Israelis catch Soviet spy ring in high levels of Israeli government and make it clear to Soviets they have produced “suitcase nukes” they could sneak into Russia.  Egypt and Syria attack unprepared Israeli forces in Sinai and Golan Heights on the Jewish fast in Yom Kippur War. Israel goes on nuclear alert and begins to ready nuclear weapons for actual use, forcing the U.S. to airlift them weapons and to start redeploying nuclear armed ships and airplanes.  When Soviets started talking about sending in Russian troops, Israel again goes on nuclear alert.  Washington pressures Israel to accept a cease-fire.

1974: Defense Minister Dayan visits South Africa to discuss testing a nuclear weapon there.

1975: Israel receives nuclear-capable Lance missiles from the United States, even as U.S. remains in official denial about Israel having nuclear weapons.

1976:  South Africa’s Prime Minister visits Israel to sign several nuclear and other agreements.

1977: Menachem Begin’s right wing expansionist Likud Party takes power in Israel and is determined to reshape Middle East to suit Israel’s needs, including through using the nuclear threat.  Commits to nuclear targeting of even more cities in the Soviet Union.  President Carter does not take on the issue, despite conducting Camp David peace talks between Egypt and Israel.

1979: President Carter provides Israel ability to see American spy satellite photos for defense purposes only, but Israelis manage to get them for pre-emptive strikes against Middle East and Russia.  Israel and South Africa explode first nuclear bomb in South Indian Ocean but appointed U.S. committee refuses to conclude it was a nuclear explosion.

1981: Israel, using U.S. spy satellite photos, sends F-16s to bomb and destroy Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction at Osirak. U.S. strictly limits further access to spy photos.  Defense Minister Ariel Sharon recruits American Navy employee Jonathan Pollard as a spy to obtain satellite photos plus massive amounts of other classified information about Israel’s enemies, some of which Israel turns over to the Soviet Union to try to win over its adversary. Ariel Sharon talks President Reagan into a formal Israel-U.S. military alliance against the Soviet Union but Defense Chief Weinberger delays and sabotages it.

1982: Under Ariel Sharon’s military leadership, Israel invades Lebanon to attack Palestinian militants as first part of plan to drive Palestinians into Jordan, using the threat of nuclear weapons to intimidate any adversaries.  However, despite destroying Beruit and killing more than ten thousand Arabs and 500 Israelis, Sharon’s efforts in Lebanon fail. Israel eventually withdraws and Sharon loses his position.

1985: Jonathan Pollard captured leaving office with stolen papers.  Eventually sentenced to life in prison.

1986: Mordechai Vanunu, a disaffected Dimona technician who left with photographs and other evidence of nuclear weapons production, publishes details in the London Sunday Times newspaper; reveals Israel has over 100 nuclear weapons. Israel starts disinformation campaign then lures him to Italy where he is kidnaped, taken to Israel and imprisoned for 18 years.  He was released in spring of 2004 and remains under house arrest because of his continuing contact with the media.

1987: Israel test-fires a Jericho 2 missile capable of carrying a nulcear weapon.  UN General Assembly and the IAEA General Conference passes first of more than a dozen resolutions calling on Israel to join the Nonproliferation Treaty.

1988: Israel launches its first spy satellite into orbit.

1991:  U.S. convinces Israel to refrain from attacking Iraq with nuclear weapons, even if Iraq uses chemical or biological weapons against it, but Israel’s nuclear weapons remain on alert.

1999: US Department of Energy document ranks Israel sixth among countries with nuclear weapons.

2000: Knesset debates Israel’s nuclear weapons program for first time.  Germany sells Israel three state-of-the-art 800-class Dolphin submarines and Israel tests first submarine-launched missile in the area of the Indian Ocean.  Ariel Sharon is elected Prime Minister of Israel, still intending to use nuclear weapons to bully other nations and remake the Middle East for the benefit of Israel.  George Bush is elected in the United state and his neoconservative allies fully intend that the United States help Sharon fulfill that mission.  Right wing Israelis begin freely talking about attacking other nations, including with nuclear weapons.

2001: Bush inflames Arabs by clearly taking sides with Israel’s expansionist aims, part of the reason for the September 11 attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.  He obsesses about attacking Iraq, not defending America against known Al Queda terrorists.  Starts planning war against Iraq after September 11 attacks, including option of using nuclear weapons.

2002:  George Bush gives Israel the go-ahead to use nuclear weapons against Iraq if Saddam attacks Israel before the American invasion of Iraq. Pentagon Office of Special Plans uses information from Iraqi dissidents and Israel’s Mossad to convince Americans that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that are an imminent threat against America.  Israel launches Ofek-5 satellite with a powerful new inter-continental missile.

2003:  Israel repeatedly demands sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program and threatens to bomb Iran’s operating nuclear power plant, despite Iran’s threats to retaliate hard against Israel.  Russia may have sold Iran additional advanced missiles capable of shooting down Israeli bomber and fighter jets. Russian President Putin proposes Security Council formally call for establishment of a Palestinian state and arrests last of the Jewish “oligarchs” who bought state industries for pennies on the dollar under Yeltsin.  Arab and other nations repeatedly ask that Israel nuclear facilities come under international inspections. So does the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed el-Baradei. United Nations General Assembly passes resolution that Israel join the nonproliferation treaty by a vote of 164-4. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tells Israeli newspaper that Israel will not dismantle its “special measures” because the U.S. will not remain in the Middle East forever.

2004: Israel buys two more German submarines for delivering nuclear tipped cruise missiles, making a total of five.  Mordechai Vanunu’s prison term ends 2004 but Israel keeps putting him in prison and or under house arrest for trying to speak to others outside the country on nuclear issues and for wanting to leave Israel permanently.

The phrase the “Samson Option” is used to describe Israel’s strategy of massive nuclear retaliation against “enemy” nations should its existence as a Jewish state be jeopardized through military attack. Israeli leaders created the term in the mid-1960s, inspired by the Biblical figure Samson, who destroyed a Philistine temple, killing himself and thousands of Philistine enemies.[1][2]

Israel refuses to admit officially that it has nuclear weapons – a policy known as “nuclear ambiguity” or “nuclear opacity.”[3] This despite government officials inferring repeatedly – and occasionally admitting – the fact. And despite Israeli nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu making public smuggled photographs of  nuclear weapons and production equipment in the 1980s.[4] Israel now may have as many as 400 atomic and hydrogen nuclear weapons,[5][6]  as well as the ability to launch them via long range missiles, submarines and aircraft.[7] It can use them in a second strike even if its military is devastated.

Originally a strategy of last resort retaliation – even if it means Israel’s annihilation – it has developed into being a nuclear bullying strategy to further Israel’s territorial goals through threats and blackmail. Israel has bullied not only Arab and Muslim nations, but the United States and Russia with its Samson Option threats.  Mordechai Vanunu has alleged that Israel uses for purposes of blackmail its ability to “bombard any city all over the world, and not only those in Europe but also those in the United States.”[8]

Official policy and threats

During the 1960s Israel concentrated on conventional military superiority to defend lands confiscated in the 1948 and 1967 wars – and to convince Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories that they could not break free of it. However, in 1973’s Yom Kippur War Israel was almost overwhelmed by Arab forces.  Prime Minister Golda Meir authorized a nuclear alert, ordering 13 atomic bombs be prepared for missiles and aircraft. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Simha Dinitz threatened “very serious conclusions” if there was not an immediate airlift of supplies.[9]  This forced U.S. President Richard Nixon to make emergency airlifts of state of the art military supplies to Israel.[10][11]

Fearing intervention by the Soviet Union, U.S. forces went on Defense Condition (DEFCON) III alert status[12], something which could have led to full scale nuclear war in case of misinterpretation of signals or hardware or software failures. Additionally, as Seymour Hersh documents in detail in his book The Samson Option, from 1973 these weapons have been used to discourage the Soviet Union – now Russia – from intervening militarily on behalf of Arab nations.[13] Obviously an Israeli nuclear attack on Russia by the United States’ great ally Israel would result in Russia sending thousands of nuclear weapons towards the U.S. and the U.S. responding in kind.

Not surprisingly, no nation state has attempted to attack Israel since 1973. A former Israeli official justified Israel’s threats. “You Americans screwed us” in not supporting Israel in its 1956 war with Egypt. “We can still remember the smell of Auschwitz and Treblinka. Next time we’ll take all of you with us.”[14]  General Moshe Dayan, a leading promoter of Israel’s nuclear program[15], has been quoted as saying “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”[16] Amos Rubin, an economic adviser to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, said “If left to its own Israel will have no choice but to fall back on a riskier defense which will endanger itself and the world at large… To enable Israel to abstain from dependence on nuclear arms calls for $2 to 3 billion per year in U.S. aid.”[17]

In 1977, after a right-wing coalition under Menachen Begin took power, the Israelis began to use the Samson Option not just to deter attack but to allow Israel to “redraw the political map of the Middle East” by expanding hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers into the West Bank and Gaza.[18] Then-Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon said things like “We are much more important than (Americans) think. We can take the middle east with us whenever we go”[19] and “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”[20]  He proclaimed his – and many Likud Party members’ – goals of transforming Jordan into a Palestinian state and “transferring” all Palestinian refugees there.[21][22]  A practice known worldwide as “ethnic cleansing.”

To dissuade the Soviet Union from interfering with its plans, Prime Minister Begin immediately “gave orders to target more Soviet cities” for potential nuclear attack. Its American spy Jonathan Pollard was caught stealing such nuclear targeting information from the U.S. military in 1985.[23]

During the next 25 years Israel became more militarily adventurous, bombing Iraq’s under-construction Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, invading Lebanon to destroy Palestinian refugee camps in 1982 and to fight Hezbollah in 2006, massively bombing civilian targets in the West Bank Jenin refugee camp in 2002 and thoughout Gaza in 2008-2009. There are conflicting reports about whether Israel went on nuclear alert and armed missiles with nuclear weapons during the 1991 Gulf War after Iraq shot conventionally armed scud missiles into it.[24][25]

In 2002, while the United States was building for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon threatened that if Israel was attacked “Israel will react. Is it clear?”[26]  Israeli defense analyst Zeev Schiff explained: “Israel could respond with a nuclear retaliation that would eradicate Iraq as a country.” It is believed President Bush gave Sharon the green-light to attack Baghdad in retaliation, including with nuclear weapons, but only if attacks came before the American military invasion.[27]

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has admitted that nuclear weapons are used by Israel for “compellent purposes” – i.e., forcing others to accept Israeli political demands.[28] In 1998 Peres was quoted as saying, “We have built a nuclear option, not in order to have a Hiroshima, but to have an Oslo,” referring to imposing a settlement on the Palestinians.[29]

In her book Israel’s Sacred Terrorism Livia Rokach documented how Israelis have used religion to justify paramilitary and state terrorism to create and maintain a Jewish State.[30]  Two other Israeli retaliation strategies are the popularized phrase “Wrath of God,” the alleged Israeli assassination of those it held responsible for the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics[31], and the “Dahiya doctrine” of destruction of civilian areas to punish Palestinians for supporting their leaders.[32]

Israeli Israel Shahak wrote in 1997: “Israel clearly prepares itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East…without hesitating to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones.”[33] Zeev Schiff opined in 1998 that “Off-the-cuff Israeli nuclear threats have become a problem.”[34] In 2003 David Hirst noted that “The threatening of wild, irrational violence, in response to political pressure, has been an Israeli impulse from the very earliest days” and called Israel a candidate for “the role of ‘nuclear-crazy’ state.”[35] Noam Chomsky said of the Samson Option “the craziness of the state is not because the people are insane. Once you pick a policy of choosing expansion over security, that’s what you end up getting stuck with.”[36] Efraim Karsh calls the Samson Option the “rationality of pretended irrationality,” but warns that seeming too irrational could encourage other nations to attack Israel in their own defense.[37]

Samson Option Supporters

Two Israel supporters are frequently quoted for their explicit support of the Samson Option.  Martin Van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has been quoted as saying: “Most European capitals are targets for our air force….We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.”[38]

In 2002 the Los Angeles Times, published an opinion piece by Louisiana State University professor David Perlmutter in which he wrote: “What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens? For the first time in history, a people facing extermination while the world either cackles or looks away–unlike the Armenians, Tibetans, World War II European Jews or Rwandans–have the power to destroy the world. The ultimate justice?”[39]

Two influential Israel supporters advocate more active use of the Samson Option threat. Louis René Beres, a professor of Political Science at Purdue University and an Ariel Sharon advisor, recommends Israel use the Samson Option threat to support conventional preemptive attacks against enemy nuclear and non-nuclear assets, discouraging conventional retaliation.[40]  Jerome Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D. in political science and author of two books encouraging Israel to use nuclear weapons[41], writes that “Israel’s Samson Option” could be “a preemptive strike against Iran.”[42]

The Israelis also are egged on in its nuclear threats by “Christian Zionists” like Hal Lindsay who believe Israel must expand its control of territory to its Biblical borders in order to bring about Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ.[43]  Some suspect that former President George W. Bush holds such beliefs,[44] especially after his November 2007 statement “If you want to see World War Three, you know, a way to do that is to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon.”[45]

Israeli Threats Against Iran

Israel’s threats to use nuclear weapons, including preemptively, have increased greatly since the revelation in 2002 that Iran was building uranium enrichment facilities. That year Prime Minister Ariel Sharon demanded that the international community target Iran as soon as it was finished dealing with Iraq.[46]

Unlike Israel, Iran has accepted supervision of its nuclear program under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Iran claims its program is only for production of nuclear power as oil becomes more scarce and expensive, and not for nuclear weapons. However, Israel opposes any challenge to its nuclear hegemony since not only would it be less able to use its nuclear threat to keep confiscated lands, but fear of Iran actually might cause citizens to leave Israel and investment to dry up.[47][48]  Israel also must worry about other “enemy” Arab nations which already are seeking or soon may seek nuclear energy.[49]

In 2004 Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that Israel would consider “all options” to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons.[50] Rumors and warnings of an impending Israeli attack on Iran’s facilities, including possibly with nuclear weapons, have circulated repeatedly since that time.[51][52]

Meanwhile, Israel still considers Russia a target because of its technical assistance to Iran’s nuclear program and its continued arms sales to Iran and other “enemy” nations.[53] [54][55] In 2007 Israeli officials warned Russia: “We hope they understand that this is a threat that could come back to them as well.”[56]

In 2005 George Bush admitted that the U.S. would support an Israeli attack on Iran.[57] Soon after his election President Barak Obama seemed to accept the inevitability of an Iranian nuclear bomb.[58] However, in early 2009 Likud Party hawk Benjamin Netanyahu was elected Israeli Prime Minister. Netanyahu already had threatened that Israel would attack Iran to stop its nuclear program if Obama did not do so.[59] Considering Iran’s threats to retaliate, this easily could lead to a “Samson Option” scenario.[60][61]  After May[62] and September meetings with Netanyahu in 2009, Obama threatened Iran with attack if it did not “come clean about” and curb its nuclear program.[63][64] This statement came a day after Netanyahus’ speech to the United Nations where he invoked the memory of Auschwitz and family members slain by Nazis.[65] Obama also has suffered constant pressure to take a more belligerent stand against Iran from neoconservatives and the “Israel lobby.”[66][67][68][69]

Too few peace or political activists, left or right, are willing to challenge Israel’s Samson Option threats or even to make a nuclear free Middle East a central demand.[70] Until military and political leaders, as well as activists, are willing to change U.S. policy of defacto support for Israel’s Samson Option the whole world remains a potential victim of this horrific strategy.

* * *
Note: If you see some resemblance to the wikipedia article on the Samson Option, I also worked on that and contributed many of the same facts from many of the same sources.
Also, my
comments on the “Samson Option” were quoted in the New York Sun, September 2005.
* * *

References

1. Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, Random House, 1991, pp. 42, 136-137, 288-289.

2. Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, Columbia University Press, 1998, pp. 2, 7, 341 and Avner Cohen, “Israel’s Nuclear Opacity: a Political Genealogy,” published in The Dynamics of Middle East Nuclear Proliferation, pp. 187-212, edited by Steven L. Spiegel, Jennifer D. Kibbe and Elizabeth G. Matthews. Symposium Series, Volume 66, The Edwin Mellen Press, 2001.

3 Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, p. 1-3.

4. Peter Hounam, Woman From Mossad: The Torment of Mordechai Vanunu, Vision Paperbacks, 1999, pp. 155-168.

5. Harold Hough, “Could Israel’s Nuclear Assets Survive a First Strike?” Jane’s Intelligence Review, September, 1997, pp. 407-410.

6. “U.S. Air Force: Israel has 400 nukes, building naval force,” World Tribune,  July 4, 2002

7.  Douglas Frantz, “Israel Adds Fuel to Nuclear Dispute, Officials confirm that the nation can now launch atomic weapons from land, sea and air,” Los Angeles Times, Sunday, October 12, 2003.

8. “Vanunu Confirms Israel’s Global Thermonuclear Blackmail,” An Interview With Hesham Tillawi, PhD,  December 19, 2009.

9. Seymour Hersh, pp. 225-227; Avner Cohen, p. 236 and Mark Gaffney, Dimona, The Third Temple:The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation, 1989, Amana Books, p. 147.

10. Warner D. Farr, “The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons.” Counterproliferation Paper No. 2, USAF Counterproliferation Center, Air War College, September 1999.

11. Avner Cohen, “The Last Nuclear Moment,” The New York Times, 6 October 2003.

12. Federation of American Scientists web page on DEFCON DEFense CONdition.

13. Seymour Hersh, pp. 17, 40, 66, 174-75, 177, 216, 220, 223-231.

14. Seymour Hersh, p. 42

15. Seymour Hersh, p. 174-180

16. David Hirst, “The War Game, a controversial view of the current crisis in the Middle East,” The Observer Guardian, September 21, 2003.

17. Mark Gaffney, p. 153.

18. Seymour Hersh, 259-261.

19. Seymour Hersh, 289.

20. Mark Gaffney, p. 165.

21.  Encyclopedia of Orient on Likud Party and Elfi Pallis, “The Likud Party: A Primer,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 1992.

22.  Seymour Hersh, pp. 288-289.

23. Seymour Hersh, p. 260.

24. Avigdor Haselkorn, The continuing storm: Iraq, poisonous weapons and deterrence, Yale University Press, 1999 131-135.

25. David Eberhart, “Samson Option: Israel’s Plan to Prevent Mass Destruction Attacks,” NewsMax.Com, October 16, 2001.

26.Stephen Farrell, Robert Thomson and Danielle Haas,  “Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends, demands Israel,” London Times, November 5, 2002.

27. Ross Dunn, “Sharon eyes ‘Samson option’ against Iraq,” Scotsmann, November 3, 2002.

28.  Mark Gaffney, p. 131

29. Warner D. Farr online article, op cit.

30. Livia Rokach, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism, Third Edition, Association of Arab American University Graduates,1986.

31. “Operation Wrath of God” article in Wikipedia.

32. “The Dahiya strategy,” including interview with IDF Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot,Yedioth Ahronoth (Ynet News), June 10, 2008.

33. Israel Shahak, Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies,  Pluto Press, 1997, p. 2.

34. “United States Information Agency’s Foreign Media Reaction Report, Middle East section, February 4, 1998,” reprinted at GlobalSecurity.org..

35. David Hirst article, op cit.

36. Transcript of Noam Chomsky talk: “Assessing the Role of US Foreign Policy, Israeli Security, & Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” April 7, 2009 Madison, WI.  Youtube Video of talk.

37. Efraim Karsh, Between war and peace: dilemmas of Israeli security, Routledge, 1996 pp.130-131.

38. David Hirst article, op cit

39. David Perlmutter, Opinion Page piece “Israel: Dark Thoughts and Quiet Desperation,” Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2002.

40. Louis Rene Beres,  “Israel and Samson. Biblical Insights on Israeli Strategy in the Nuclear Age,” March 22, 3004; Beres, et al. Project Daniel  final report; “The world, of course, continues to begrudge the Jewish state:Israel and Palestine, the Samson Option” Canada Free Press, March 31, 2009.

41. Jerome Corsi, Atomic Iran, Chapter: “The Samson Option, Israel’s Preemptive Strike,” WND Books, 2005, and
Why Israel Can’t Wait: The Coming War Between Israel and Iran, Simon and Schuster, p. 101, 2009.

42. Jerome Corsi, Atomic Iran, op cit.

43. See Hal Lindsay on the Samson Option: The Samson Option, July 14, 2007 at StandingWithIsrael.org and “Prophesied destruction of Damascus imminent?”, WorldNetDaily.Com, September 21, 2007.

44.  Michael Ortiz Hill, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: Bush’s Armageddon Obsession, Revisited,” Counterpunch.org, January 4, 2003.

45. “Bush defends World War Three comments on Iran,” Reuters,  Nov 7, 2007.

46.  Stephen Farrell, Robert Thomson and Danielle Haas, “Attack Iran the day Iraq war ends, demands Israel,” London Times, November 5, 2002.

47. Roger Howard, “Why Israel Really Fears Iranian Nukes,” Antiwar.com, November 27, 2004.

48. “Nuclear Shadow over the Middle East,” PalestineChronicle, May 11, 2009.

49. Stuart Reigeluth,  “Race to ultimate arms,”  Weekly Ahram.org, 14-20 August 2008, Issue No. 910.

50.  “Israel Takes Issue With Iran Weapons,” Yahoo News,  September 29, 2004.

51.  “Israeli Defence Minister Calls For Calm Over Rumoured Attack On Iran Jerusalem,” Agence-France Presse, December 22, 2004.

52. Jason Ditz, “Israel Preparing to Attack Iran Without US Assistance,” Antiwar.com, December 4, 2008.

53. Alan Sabrosky, “Bibi Netanyahu: a Knave of Ghosts and Shadows,” Salem-News.com, October 5, 2009.

54. Michael Jasinski, “Russia’s Nuclear and Missile Technology Assistance to Iran; Nasser Karimi, Russian Fuel Ready for Iran,” Associated Press, September 16, 2007 and Robert Tait, Mark Tran, “Putin warns US against military action on Iran,” The Guardian, October 16, 2007.

55. Herb Keinon, “Jerusalem sees Russian interests behind arms sales to Damascus,” The Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2007

56.  Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon, “Israel warns Russia on Iran arms sale,” Jerusalem Post, January 16, 2007

57. Francis Harris, “America would back Israel attack on Iran,” The Telegraph February 18, 2005.

58. Aluf Benn,  “Obama’s atomic umbrella: U.S. nuclear strike if Iran nukes Israel,” Haaretz, November 12, 2008.

59. Jeffrey Goldberg, “Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran—Or I Will,” The Atlantic, March 31, 2009.

60.  Michael Theodoulou, “Iran threatens to set Israel ablaze as fears grow of US-backed war,” Scotsman, July 9, 2008.

61. “Iran threatens to strike Israel’s nuclear sites if attacked,” Daily Star, December 10, 2009.

62. Jason Ditz, “Obama Emphasizes Iran ‘Threat’ on Eve of Netanyahu Visit,” Antiwar.com, May 17, 2009.

63. Jason Ditz, “Netanyahu Leads Calls for Harsh Moves Against Iran,” Antiwar.com, September 24, 2009.

64. Jason Ditz, “Obama: Iran Is on Notice, Won’t Rule Out Military Action,” Antiwar.com, September 25, 2009.

65. Text of Netanyahu speech before the United Nations, September 24, 2009.

66. Stephen J. Sniegoski, “Obama and the Neocon Middle East War Agenda,” Antiwar.com,  March 21, 2009.

67. Daniel Luban, “Under Pressure from Hawks, Obama Tacks to the Right,” Inter Press Service, August 12, 2009.

68. Robert Parry, “Is Joe Lieberman Protecting Israel?” originally published in ConsortiumNews.com, December 15, 2009.

69. Stephen M. Walt, “On Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Lobby: A response to Peter Beinart,” ForeignPolicy.com, December 9, 2009.

70.  John Steinbach, “Israeli Weapons of Mass Destruction, A Threat to Peace: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal,” GlobalResearch.Ca, March 2002.

Also

ISRAEL NUCLEAR TIME LINE
(collected from various sources)

1949:  French and Israel atomic researchers start to exchange information. Israeli Defence Force Science Corps begins two year geological survey of the Negev desert in search of recoverable Uranium.

1952:  Israeli Atomic Energy Commission is created. Its chairman, Ernst David Bergmann of Israel’s Weizman Institute of Science, “the father of Israel’s bomb,” has been promoting nuclear armed missiles for Israel since arriving after World War II. Newly elected President Eisenhower will refuse to sell arms to Israel during his two terms, ending in 1960.  France sells them to Israel from 1955 to 1967.

Israeli nuclear plant at Dimona, top.   Mordechai Vanunu photo bottom. More Vanunu photos from inside Dimona here.
1955: Under Atoms for Peace program, overseen by pro-Israel Lewis Stauss who was head of America’s Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. helps fund a small Israeli nuclear research reactor. Strauss learned about Dimona and its purpose before the U.S. government but did not inform the U.S. government.

1953:  Israeli researchers perfect a process for extracting Uranium, and developing a new method of producing heavy water, which is a key ingredient in the process.  Hundreds of millions of dollars will be raised to build Israel’s nuclear bomb over the next twenty years, mostly from American Jews; effort is led by Abraham Feinberg who financially backs both Presidents Truman and Johnson, as well as presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. (John F. Kennedy accepts his money but is incensed by the pro-Israel lobbying.)

1956: France and Israel formally and secretly agree to build a nuclear reactor in the Negev desert.  Britain, France and  Israel invade Egypt (Suez Canal crisis) and the Soviet Union threatens to use rockets against them if they do not desist, leading to a cease-fire.  U.S. begins U-2 spy flights over targets world wide, including Israel.

1957: France and Israel sign a revised agreement calling for France to build a 24 MWt reactor; unwritten was the agreement to build a plutonium reprocessing plant.

1958: Israel breaks ground at Dimona, with assistance of French scientists and contractors, and U-2 spy planes provide evidence Israelis are building nuclear plant there.

1960: Israeli scientists witness first French atomic explosion in South Pacific. French President Charles DeGaulle threatens to cut off reactor fuel if Israel doesn’t accept international inspections, but eventually accepts Israel’s assertions Dimona is only for peaceful purposes and work continues.  United States intelligence leaks to the press that Israel is building a secret nuclear facility that will eventually produce a nuclear bomb.  Israel admits this to its Parliament and world but claims it is only for peaceful purposes.

1961:  President Kennedy makes the man who leaked Israel’s bomb to the press head of the CIA.  Kennedy is very opposed to Israel having the bomb and tells Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion so in many letters and in meeting in New York about the purpose of Dimona.  Ben-Gurion tells him its purpose is peaceful and refuses to allow international inspections.  Israel launches its first rocket.

1962:  Ben-Gurion allows inspections by American inspectors only in return for sales of Hawk surface-to-air missiles.  Israel builds a fake control room and bricks off parts of buildings to hide from inspectors the true size and purpose of the reactor (three times bigger than admitted) and that it was connected to a plutonium reprocessing plant; this feint continues during seven such inspections until they end in 1969. Reactor at Dimona goes into operation.

1963:  Kennedy refuses to sign any security arrangement with Israel.  After Kennedy assassination brings the very pro-Israel Lyndon Johnson to power.  (Not surprisingly there is an assassination conspiracy theory that the Mossad killed Kennedy.)

1964: Dimona plutonium processing plant goes online.  In first official visit by an Israeli Prime Minister (Eshkol) to Washington, Johnson promises Israel offensive fighter jets and other weapons if it refrains from producing nuclear weapons. Israel’s Eshkol eventually agrees to Johnson’s terms and holds off on producing the bomb for a few years.  China explodes first nuclear bomb.

1965: Israel performs its first plutonium extraction, and France assists Israel in developing its Jericho missiles.

1966:  U.S. begins fighter jet and arms shipments to Israel. Johnson discourages further reports on Israel nuclear situation from U.S. embassy in Israel. Israel refuses money for nuclear desalination plant which is tied to international inspections of Dimona.

1967: Six Day War when Israel pre-emptively attacks an Egyptian military buildup in the Sinai Peninsula.  Israel attacks USS Liberty surveillance vessel, killing 34 sailors; (see BBC allegation below that Israelis wanted to instigate a U.S. nuclear attack on Cairo).  Soviet Union supports Arabs militarily, sends ships to the region and breaks diplomatic ties with Israel.  Americans unofficially inform Israel that the Soviet Union has put four Israeli cities on its nuclear target list.

1968:  Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, believing Israel cannot depend on the U.S. to defend it, unilaterally orders full production of nuclear weapons, averaging four to twelve per year, depending on size.  Israel illicitly imports two hundred tons of uranium.

1969:  President Richard Nixon takes office and fully supports Israel’s nuclear weapons, as does his National Security chief Henry Kissinger. Ends American inspections at Dimona and shares some nuclear targeting information about the Soviet Union. CIA tries to inform President Johnson about Dimona, but he brushes off information, signs Nonproliferation Treaty, and sends Israel advanced Phantom fighter jets.

1973: Israelis catch Soviet spy ring in high levels of Israeli government and make it clear to Soviets they have produced “suitcase nukes” they could sneak into Russia.  Egypt and Syria attack unprepared Israeli forces in Sinai and Golan Heights on the Jewish fast in Yom Kippur War. Israel goes on nuclear alert and begins to ready nuclear weapons for actual use, forcing the U.S. to airlift them weapons and to start redeploying nuclear armed ships and airplanes.  When Soviets started talking about sending in Russian troops, Israel again goes on nuclear alert.  Washington pressures Israel to accept a cease-fire.

1974: Defense Minister Dayan visits South Africa to discuss testing a nuclear weapon there.

1975: Israel receives nuclear-capable Lance missiles from the United States, even as U.S. remains in official denial about Israel having nuclear weapons.

1976:  South Africa’s Prime Minister visits Israel to sign several nuclear and other agreements.

1977: Menachem Begin’s right wing expansionist Likud Party takes power in Israel and is determined to reshape Middle East to suit Israel’s needs, including through using the nuclear threat.  Commits to nuclear targeting of even more cities in the Soviet Union.  President Carter does not take on the issue, despite conducting Camp David peace talks between Egypt and Israel.

1979: President Carter provides Israel ability to see American spy satellite photos for defense purposes only, but Israelis manage to get them for pre-emptive strikes against Middle East and Russia.  Israel and South Africa explode first nuclear bomb in South Indian Ocean but appointed U.S. committee refuses to conclude it was a nuclear explosion.

1981: Israel, using U.S. spy satellite photos, sends F-16s to bomb and destroy Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction at Osirak. U.S. strictly limits further access to spy photos.  Defense Minister Ariel Sharon recruits American Navy employee Jonathan Pollard as a spy to obtain satellite photos plus massive amounts of other classified information about Israel’s enemies, some of which Israel turns over to the Soviet Union to try to win over its adversary. Ariel Sharon talks President Reagan into a formal Israel-U.S. military alliance against the Soviet Union but Defense Chief Weinberger delays and sabotages it.

1982: Under Ariel Sharon’s military leadership, Israel invades Lebanon to attack Palestinian militants as first part of plan to drive Palestinians into Jordan, using the threat of nuclear weapons to intimidate any adversaries.  However, despite destroying Beruit and killing more than ten thousand Arabs and 500 Israelis, Sharon’s efforts in Lebanon fail. Israel eventually withdraws and Sharon loses his position.

1985: Jonathan Pollard captured leaving office with stolen papers.  Eventually sentenced to life in prison.

1986: Mordechai Vanunu, a disaffected Dimona technician who left with photographs and other evidence of nuclear weapons production, publishes details in the London Sunday Times newspaper; reveals Israel has over 100 nuclear weapons. Israel starts disinformation campaign then lures him to Italy where he is kidnaped, taken to Israel and imprisoned for 18 years.  He was released in spring of 2004 and remains under house arrest because of his continuing contact with the media.

1987: Israel test-fires a Jericho 2 missile capable of carrying a nulcear weapon.  UN General Assembly and the IAEA General Conference passes first of more than a dozen resolutions calling on Israel to join the Nonproliferation Treaty.

1988: Israel launches its first spy satellite into orbit.

1991:  U.S. convinces Israel to refrain from attacking Iraq with nuclear weapons, even if Iraq uses chemical or biological weapons against it, but Israel’s nuclear weapons remain on alert.

1999: US Department of Energy document ranks Israel sixth among countries with nuclear weapons.

2000: Knesset debates Israel’s nuclear weapons program for first time.  Germany sells Israel three state-of-the-art 800-class Dolphin submarines and Israel tests first submarine-launched missile in the area of the Indian Ocean.  Ariel Sharon is elected Prime Minister of Israel, still intending to use nuclear weapons to bully other nations and remake the Middle East for the benefit of Israel.  George Bush is elected in the United state and his neoconservative allies fully intend that the United States help Sharon fulfill that mission.  Right wing Israelis begin freely talking about attacking other nations, including with nuclear weapons.

2001: Bush inflames Arabs by clearly taking sides with Israel’s expansionist aims, part of the reason for the September 11 attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.  He obsesses about attacking Iraq, not defending America against known Al Queda terrorists.  Starts planning war against Iraq after September 11 attacks, including option of using nuclear weapons.

2002:  George Bush gives Israel the go-ahead to use nuclear weapons against Iraq if Saddam attacks Israel before the American invasion of Iraq. Pentagon Office of Special Plans uses information from Iraqi dissidents and Israel’s Mossad to convince Americans that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that are an imminent threat against America.  Israel launches Ofek-5 satellite with a powerful new inter-continental missile.

2003:  Israel repeatedly demands sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program and threatens to bomb Iran’s operating nuclear power plant, despite Iran’s threats to retaliate hard against Israel.  Russia may have sold Iran additional advanced missiles capable of shooting down Israeli bomber and fighter jets. Russian President Putin proposes Security Council formally call for establishment of a Palestinian state and arrests last of the Jewish “oligarchs” who bought state industries for pennies on the dollar under Yeltsin.  Arab and other nations repeatedly ask that Israel nuclear facilities come under international inspections. So does the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed el-Baradei. United Nations General Assembly passes resolution that Israel join the nonproliferation treaty by a vote of 164-4. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tells Israeli newspaper that Israel will not dismantle its “special measures” because the U.S. will not remain in the Middle East forever.

2004: Israel buys two more German submarines for delivering nuclear tipped cruise missiles, making a total of five.  Mordechai Vanunu’s prison term ends 2004 but Israel keeps putting him in prison and or under house arrest for trying to speak to others outside the country on nuclear issues and for wanting to leave Israel permanently

[Comment: needs update urgently!]

http://carolmoore.net/nuclearwar/israelithreats.html

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Despite doubts, Shapiro maintains innocence

By Mary Ann Thomas and Ramesh Santanam
VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Monday, August 26, 2002

Editor’s note: This is the second of three parts regarding the history of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. and allegations of uranium missing from the company.

Seventeen days after four Israelis – all with ties to that country’s military or intelligence agencies – visited NUMEC, the men also met with NUMEC’s president Zalman Shapiro and four others.

Their discussions, according to Bruce Rice, NUMEC’s security manager, “concerned the possibility of developing plutonium-fueled, thermo-electric generator systems in the 5- and 50-milliwatt power level.”

story continues below

The Israelis were particularly interested in 10 generators in the 5-milliwatt range, which would be fueled by about 2 grams of plutonium.

“We are proceeding to make a proposal to these gentlemen for this work using, of course, only unclassified information, which is already in the public domain,” Rice wrote to Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) security director Harry Walsh.

During a meeting with then-U.S. Rep. Morris Udall, D-Ariz., Shapiro said he didn’t recall Avraham Hermoni, one of the four Israelis, visiting Apollo, but acknowledged he met on his own with Hermoni “probably less than half a dozen times” to discuss ISORAD and because Hermoni “was interested in technical assistance from time to time.”

It wasn’t the only visit Shapiro told Congressional investigators he didn’t remember. Shapiro said he did not remember a visit to NUMEC by Ephraim Lahav, scientific counselor to the Israeli embassy.

“There were people who visited us, but I don’t recall Lahav,” he said. “It was not unusual for the scientific counselor to come to NUMEC.”

Later, when questioned about a June 1969 meeting with an Israeli scientific counselor at the Pittsburgh airport, Shapiro said, “I think his name was Ephraim Lahav.”

They met, Shapiro told congressional investigators, to discuss a delinquent payment owed to NUMEC for some equipment provided to Israel.

However, the man Shapiro met was not Lahav, but another Israeli scientific attache, Jeruham Kafkafi.

The late Carl Duckett, former CIA deputy director, found it “hard to reconcile (Shapiro) not recalling Lahav when the matter was first raised, but subsequently thinking he was the man he met in Pittsburgh,” Duckett wrote in a letter to Henry Myers, former Udall aide, in response to Shapiro’s unsworn testimony during an informal meeting with Udall’s subcommittee in 1978.

Shapiro also said he met the head of Israel’s military intelligence during his trips there. But, Shapiro said, he had no knowledge of Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

“My discussions with the military intelligence people pertained to a long-lived battery to be used in intrusion detection,” he said, according to documents in the University of Arizona library.

Again, Duckett doubted Shapiro.

Given Shapiro’s background, his interest in Israel and “his contacts with senior Israeli officials concerned with nuclear matters, … it is difficult to comprehend a situation where the possibilities of an Israeli nuclear weapons program would not have crossed his mind,” Duckett wrote.

In an interview with the Valley News Dispatch, Shapiro, 82, of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood declined to discuss any of the controversy surrounding NUMEC.

Continuing speculation

After about a decade of investigations, federal authorities could not find significant evidence that Shapiro diverted uranium to the Israelis.

But that didn’t end speculation.

Even authors who wrote about the NUMEC affair could not agree on whether uranium was illegally smuggled to Israel.

While the authors Andrew and Leslie Cockburn wrote about the possibility of NUMEC diverting uranium to Israel in their book “Dangerous Liaison,” Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Seymour Hersh refuted that assertion in his 1991 book, “The Samson Option.”

Hersh wrote the government’s evidence against Shapiro “seemed to be his Jewishness and the fact that one of the major investors in NUMEC (David Lowenthal) shared his support for Israel.”

Hersh insisted Shapiro never diverted nuclear material to Israel.

“The nuclear material was not stolen at all – it ended up in the air and water of the city of Apollo as well as in the ducts, tubes and floors of the NUMEC plant,” Hersh wrote.

To bolster his argument, Hersh points to the large quantities of uranium found, according to the NRC, when the Apollo plant was decommissioned and taken apart in the 1980s.

“More than 100 kilograms of enriched uranium – the amount allegedly diverted to Israel by Zalman Shapiro – was recovered from the decommissioned plant in 1982, with still more being recovered each year,” Hersh wrote.

In an interview with the Valley News Dispatch, former Udall aide Myers, who is not represented in a positive light in Hersh’s book, questioned the validity of Hersh’s claims and wondered why more people did not criticize the book.

Federal agents also considered the possibility that NUMEC’s partnership with Israel on food irradiation made it easier to smuggle uranium out of the country. A NUMEC employee put forth this possibility when he was interviewed by FBI agents.

The worker, whose name is deleted in a November 1968 FBI document, told agents he believed the losses in uranium occurred about the same time NUMEC was involved in developing and manufacturing at least one large irradiator and several smaller units called “Howitzers” and shipping them to Israel.

The employee believed if enriched uranium was to be illegally shipped to Israel, “it would have been a simple matter of placing the material in these food irradiator units in large quantities and shipped to Israel with no questions asked,” according to the FBI report.

“Source said these food irradiators were legal shipments and with a notice printed on the side of the container, indicating that the contents contained radioactive material. No one would have opened or examined them or had reason to question their contents.”

There also was speculation by the FBI that Shapiro had in his office “a scrambler telephone” that federal agents could not tap and which he used to talk freely with Israeli agents in New York. FBI agents also suspected that there was a special encoding device on his Teletype machine at NUMEC.

Shapiro insisted to Congressional investigators that such a phone did not exist and that the telex machines at NUMEC were ordinary.

“I know of no such system,” he said in a statement. “I do not know how I am supposed to refute charges of this sort when I am not even told where and when the device was said to be in operation.”

Shapiro insisted the unaccounted-for uranium was not given to Israel but was part of the normal losses during processing. Some of the missing material also was likely buried as waste on the plant site, he said.

“I never diverted any material to anybody,” Shapiro told Udall.

Diversion or sloppy records?

Despite suspicions by the FBI that NUMEC was diverting uranium to the Israelis, the AEC hierarchy backed Shapiro.

In February 1966, AEC Chairman Glenn T. Seaborg wrote to U.S. Rep. Chet Holifield, D-Calif., chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, claiming a diversion of uranium to Israel was unlikely. Instead, he blamed the problem on sloppy record keeping by NUMEC.

Former AEC official Earle Hightower told the Valley News Dispatch there was truth to Seaborg’s statement about NUMEC’s record keeping.

“Everybody recognized it was a very sloppy operation,” Hightower said. “Everybody complained about it, but you couldn’t do anything about it.”

The AEC, Seaborg wrote, conducted surveys of NUMEC’s inventory and was satisfied nothing illegal occurred.

“In the absence of evidence or suspicion of violation of law, we have determined that an inquiry by the FBI is not now warranted,” he wrote.

Seaborg surmised that 61 kilograms of uranium-235 missing from a Westinghouse Astronuclear Laboratory (WANL) contract may have been used by NUMEC to make up for losses in other jobs the company did.

“It is not now possible to establish a point in time, or even a definable period, when the losses may have occurred or whether, in fact, the WANL material was used knowingly or inadvertently to offset losses on other contracts,” Seaborg wrote.

“Further, because the NUMEC records system was not set up to provide such data, it is not possible to identify all losses with particular contracts. Therefore, it cannot be said unequivocally that theft or diversion has not taken place.”

But Seaborg doubts the diversion theory because of what he believed was a stringent inventory survey done by the AEC and its eight-year history with NUMEC.

“The most probable explanation is that NUMEC consistently underestimated its plant process losses and, that the difference between actual and estimated losses was passed on from completed job to new jobs,” he wrote. “Thus, the losses attributable to the WANL contract probably include an accumulation of deferred losses over an eight-year period.”

Hightower doesn’t buy it.

“We ran a couple of investigations up there,” he said. “The losses were certainly not in the tolerable limits. The losses were way beyond what we would have anticipated. We felt that Shapiro was deliberately negligent to cover the losses.”

The AEC also investigated Shapiro’s claim that the missing uranium was part of buried waste.

News of the buried waste came as a surprise to the AEC, according to an Aug. 2, 1965, memo from AEC Assistant General Manager Howard Brown.

“Dr. Shapiro disclosed for the first time a new source of waste material at the plant which, he averred, would not only make up the dollar difference on the WANL contract, but would result in AEC owing NUMEC,” Brown wrote. “Dr. Shapiro stated this new source of valuable waste was contained in about 800 drums of scraps and cleanup material. buried under four feet of earth on company property.”

Asked why he failed to inform the AEC about this, Shapiro “simply said that the situation was embarrassing,” Brown wrote.

The buried waste was exhumed in October 1965, but only six kilograms of uranium – 56 kilograms short of what Shaprio said should be there – of nuclear material was recovered.

Meanwhile, some in the CIA were convinced Israel had “the bomb” and that NUMEC likely diverted uranium to that country.

“The clear consensus of CIA was indeed that the most likely case was that indeed NUMEC material had been diverted and had been used by the Israelis in fabricating weapons,” said Duckett, the former CIA deputy director, in a 1981 interview on an ABC television program, “Near Armageddon: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East.”

A report about the suspicions of diversions from NUMEC to Israel was taken by CIA Director Helms to President Johnson, Duckett said.

“Director Helms told me that President Johnson said, ‘Don’t tell anybody else. Don’t even tell (Secretary of State) Dean Rusk or (Secretary of Defense) Bob McNamara.’ The key impression to me was that, indeed, it was taken seriously by the president and obviously he was very concerned that we protect that information.”

In “The Samson Option,” Hersh discounted Duckett’s theories, but former Udall aide Myers believed Duckett.

“Why would Duckett lie? Why was he going public on television?” Myers asked. “He was a very conservative bureaucrat. All this did was get him in trouble in life. The thing about Duckett is he had no reason to lie.

It wasn’t that Johnson wanted the matter kept quiet to protect Israel and/or the U.S. government, but that he couldn’t afford a scandal at the time, Myers speculated.

“That’s the last thing LBJ needed,” Myers said. “Here, he was having hell (with Vietnam), so I can see why he told Helms to keep quiet.”

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The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy by Seymour M. Hersh

Seymour M. Hersh (Author)

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From Publishers Weekly

Hersh’s investigation into Israel’s nuclear capabilities sparked a series of controversies when it appeared in hardcover, and spent three weeks on PW ‘s bestseller list.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Ever since the early 1950s, Israel has had one military eye firmly fixed on atomic weapons as a means of salvation, using them primarily as a military threat for both offensive and defensive purposes. Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize winner, expounds on the steady but quiet growth of an Israeli nuclear industry that proved so successful that Israel was able to coerce several U.S. administrations into doing its bidding. He also explores in depth Israeli access to U.S. intelligence satellite technologies that resulted from inattention by Washington leaders as well as from the four years of insider spying by Jonathan Jay Pollard. He reveals that the Soviet Union has been targeted by Israeli nuclear warheads since the mid-1980s. Unlike several other recent expos es of Israeli intelligence apparatus (Ian Black and Benny Morris’s Israel’s Secret Wars , LJ 8/91, and Andrew and Leslie Cockburn’s Dangerous Liaison , LJ 6/15/91), Hersh follows the threads of a specific intelligence focus while highlighting U.S. policies that ultimately ignore the very real presence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal. This incredibly well-written book should be in every collection.
– David Snider, Casa Grande P.L., Ariz.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Another review

As is necessary for a subject as shrouded in secrecy, the author must do a considerable amount of detective work in order to arrive at a deep understanding. “The Samson Option” is exemplary in this style of book. Written like a detective story and with not a page lacking suspense, this book rivals any of the best Sherlock Holmes or the best modern-day thrillers. Yet, this is no fiction! It is apparent from the thorough notes that the author hasn’t spared an ounce of meticulous research about such an important topic as nuclear weaponry. In it we learn about espionage tales, about cold war alliances, and about nuclear blackmail. Does Israel have nuclear weapons? If so how did they obtain them? What is the United States position on this, and why does it matter? Who funded the Israeli bomb? “The Samson Option” answers all these questions and many more, but in the process generates many more questions and mysteries that remain to be solved. Truly thought-provoking and enjoyable reading!

Samson Option

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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For the 1991 book by Seymour Hersh, see The Samson Option (book).

The Samson Option is a term used to describe Israel’s alleged deterrence strategy of massive retaliation with nuclear weapons as a “last resort” against nations whose military attacks threaten its existence, and possibly against other targets as well.[1] Israel refuses to admit it has nuclear weapons or to describe how it would use them, an official policy of nuclear ambiguity, also known as “nuclear opacity.” This has made it difficult for anyone outside the Israeli government to definitively describe its true nuclear policy, while still allowing Israel to influence the perceptions, strategies and actions of other governments.[2]

As early as 1976, the CIA believed that Israel possessed 10 to 20 nuclear weapons.[3] By 2002 it was estimated that the number had increased to between 75 and 200 thermonuclear weapons, each in the multiple-megaton range.[4] Kenneth S. Brower has estimated as many as 400 nuclear weapons.[5] These can be launched from land, sea and air.[6] This gives Israel a second strike option even if much of the country is destroyed.[7]

The term “Samson Option” has also been used more generally in reference to Israel’s nuclear program.[8] Commentators have also employed the term in reference to situations where non-nuclear, non-Israeli actors, such as Saddam Hussein[9], Yassir Arafat[10] and Hezbollah[11] have threatened conventional weapons retaliation—and even regarding former United States President George W. Bush‘s foreign policy.[12]

Contents

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[edit] Deterrence Doctrine

The original conception of the Samson Option was only as deterrence. According to US journalist Seymour Hersh and Israeli historian Avner Cohen, Israeli leaders like David Ben-Gurion, Shimon Peres, Levi Eshkol and Moshe Dayan coined the phrase in the mid-1960s. They named it after the Biblical figure Samson, who pushed apart the pillars of a Philistine temple, bringing down the roof and killing himself and thousands of Philistines who had gathered to see him humiliated. They contrasted it with ancient siege of Masada where 936 Jewish Sicarii greatly outnumbered by Roman legions committed mass suicide rather than be defeated and enslaved by the Romans.[13]

Although nuclear weapons were viewed as the ultimate guarantor of Israeli security, as early as the 1960s the country avoided building its military around them, instead pursuing absolute conventional superiority so as to forestall a last resort nuclear engagement.[14]

Seymour Hersh writes that the “surprising victory of Menachem Begin’s Likud Party in the May 1977 national elections…brought to power a government that was even more committed than Labor to the Samson Option and the necessity of an Israeli nuclear arsenal.”[15]

Louis René Beres, a professor of Political Science at Purdue University, chaired Project Daniel, a group advising Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, argues in that paper and elsewhere that the effective deterrence of the Samson Option would be increased by ending the policy of nuclear ambiguity.[16] In a 2004 article he recommends Israel use the Samson Option threat to “support conventional preemptions” against enemy nuclear and non-nuclear assets because “without such weapons, Israel, having to rely entirely upon non-nuclear forces, might not be able to deter enemy retaliations for the Israeli preemptive strike.”[17]

In 2003, Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at Israel’s Hebrew University, thought that the Al-Aqsa Intifada then in progress threatened Israel’s existence.[18] Van Creveld was quoted in David Hirst’s “The Gun and the Olive Branch” (2003) as saying “I consider it all hopeless at this point. … We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under.” He quoted General Moshe Dayan: “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”

[edit] See also

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Israel ‘tried to sell nuclear weapons’

Michael Edwards

Updated May 25, 2010 04:56:00

Documents unearthed by an American academic indicate Israel offered to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa in the 1970s.

Israel has never confirmed it has nuclear weapons despite a large amount of evidence that it has as many as 200 warheads.

The documents provide the first proof Israel not only has enough nuclear weapons for its own defence but has enough to sell elsewhere.

Like India, Pakistan and North Korea, Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the 1980s, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician who worked at Israel’s main nuclear facility, revealed the extent of the country’s arsenal.

Four years ago, former prime minister Ehud Olmert accidentally acknowledged the country’s nuclear capability on German television.

And now an American academic, Sacha Polokow-Suransky, has unearthed documents which appear to indicate Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons during the era of apartheid.

The deal between Israel and South Africa did not proceed. But questions remain as to whether Israel helped South Africa develop nuclear weapons later on.

Dr Gil Merom, an international security expert from Sydney University, says Israel looked for alliances all over the world.

“Israel looked for any possible alliance and any possible support so South Africa could deliver to Israel mostly, I think, resources of the type of raw uranium,” he said.

The claims come as 190 nations are meeting in New York at the Nuclear Non-proliferation Review Treaty.

Experts say they are likely to add more pressure on Israel to declare itself a nuclear power.

Dr Andrew Davies, an expert on nuclear issues from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says the news is unlikely to surprise anyone.

“Being found out as being a proliferator never helps anybody’s case for taking the higher moral ground on nuclear weapons,” he said.

“But I don’t think any new revelation about Israel is going to come as a terrible surprise to anyone.”

Israel has played a strong role in the effort to prevent Iran gaining nuclear weapons.

Dr Ron Huisken, an expert on nuclear weapons from the Australian National University, says the Iranians will use further proof Israel has nuclear weapons to justify its own program.

He also says the revelations could force the United States to ratchet up the pressure on Israel to admit having nuclear weapons.

“If Obama and co. were serious about a sustained process of nuclear diminution, an early part of that process has to be an Israel that comes out of the closet, and in the process of doing that, says yes, we’ve got the bomb,” he said.

“We’ve got it for these reasons, and then begin to talk to its neighbours about the motives behind it and … what Israel thinks the neighbours need to do for Israel to consider giving the capability up.”

The NPT Review conference ends on Friday.

Topics: world-politics, nuclear-issues, government-and-politics, united-states, israel, south-africa

First posted May 24, 2010 20:22:00

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