Israeli Nukes? Not according to the U.S.

By Kenneth J. Theisen

Each year Israel receives billions in funding from the U.S. Israel would not exist today if it had not been for U.S. aid given over the last 60 years. In 2007 the United States government agreed to provide Israel with $30 billion in military aid over the next decade. The transfer of this aid to Israel actually violates U.S. law. But don’t expect U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to seek any arrest warrants against President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials.

In 1976 Congress passed the Symington Amendment. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended by the Symington Amendment and the Glenn Amendment of 1977, prohibits U.S. military assistance to nations that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology outside of international nonproliferation regimes, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel has refused to sign the NPT and for very good reason – it would be in breach of the treaty as it is a nuclear weapons power.

Officially both the U.S. and Israel pretend that this is not the case. At his first press conference on February 9th, Obama indicated that he would continue the decades-long charade that denies reality. Helen Thomas, the dean of White House press reporters, asked Obama, "Do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?"

Obama answered, “With respect to nuclear weapons, I don't want to speculate. What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger. And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation…”  Somehow the president never got around to telling the truth and admitting that Israel has nukes. And it is not that he did not know this.

On May 25, 2008 former President Jimmy Carter confirmed that Israel had secretly financed, developed, and deployed nuclear weapons. Also a declassified U.S. Army report entitled "The Joint Operating Environment 2008" further has identified Israel as a nuclear weapons power. On page 37 of the report the Army referred to "a growing arc of nuclear powers running from Israel in the west through an emerging Iran to Pakistan, India, and on to China, North Korea, and Russia in the east."  
In December 2006, during his confirmation hearings to become Secretary of War, Robert Gates referred to Israel as one of the powers seen by Iran as surrounding it with nuclear weapons. But once he became war secretary, Gates refused to repeat this by noting that when he previously stated the truth he had been “a private citizen." Once he became a government official, he must have felt he had to go along with the official lie.

The U.S. officially pretends that Israel has no nukes, but the government is also composed of bureaucracies. And some times the officials do not work in harmony. In 1997 the U.S. government declared Israel to be a nuclear proliferator when the Dimona nuclear complex and Ben Gurion University were added to an Export Administration Regulation list of entities banned from US trade because they engage in nuclear proliferation. Apparently the bureaucrats that added these Israeli government entities did not get the memo about the official lie.
Why do the U.S. and Israeli governments pretend there are no nukes in Israel when this “secret” is so widely known? For one thing, if the U.S. complied with the Symington Amendment, U.S. aid to Israel would have to cease. It would also shine the light on U.S. hypocrisy when it is hellbent on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons under the guise of preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would also expose the fact that, for the last five decades, the U.S. has looked the other way as Israel has continued to build and expand its nuclear arsenal.

Also, important U.S. allies aided Israel’s nuclear weapons program and keeping the secret avoids embarrassment for them. Britain, France, Norway and apartheid-run South Africa secretly helped Israel acquire it nukes. British government officials gave Israel plutonium and heavy water without informing British government ministers. Germany has built and given Israel submarines which Israel may use as platforms for nuclear-armed cruise missiles. It has also agreed to build two more subs. The U.S. has also supplied nuclear-capable Harpoon missiles for the submarines as part of U.S. aid packages to Israel.

U.S. leaders continuously assert that Iran has a nuclear weapons program without any real evidence to support the assertion. As a result the U.S. has used sanctions and even veiled threats of war to put pressure on Iran to halt it nuclear enrichment program. But at the same time that Iran is deemed (by the U.S.) to be a major danger to the world because it may one day acquire nuclear weapons or even the knowledge to make them, the elephant in the room remains unseen by the U.S.
Israel's record is virtually ignored. It has repeatedly attacked all it neighbors and been in a virtual state of war for 60 years. It continues to occupy the land of others. But we are supposed to ignore reality and focus all of our attention and give our support to U.S. leaders that tell us the real danger to peace in the Middle East is Iran. Of course at the same time we are supposed to ignore the vast military presence of the U.S. in the region too. (We all know that the U.S. only has hundreds of thousands of military personnel and contractors in the region to ensure peace.)
Iran is a signatory to the

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, unlike Israel. But Obama and other supporters of Israel fail to mention this in their propaganda. They also fail to mention that if the U.S. wants to legally provide aid to Israel it can only be done under a special national security waiver from the President. This waiver is used to provide aid to Pakistan.  But Pakistan openly admits it has nuclear weapons, while Israel continues to keep its “secret.”

The U.S. has done everything in its power to maintain the “secret” of Israel’s nukes. When the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the U.N. to investigate Israel’s nuclear program, two nations opposed the resolution – Israel and the United States. But while the posturing by the U.S. and Israel is not really fooling many, it does have an important function in allowing Israel and the U.S. to avoid not only U.S. law, but international law as well. Various international treaties and national laws restrict trade to countries that have built nuclear weapons outside the NPT.

We can not stop Israel and the U.S. from pretending, but that does not mean we have to pretend. People are dying everyday as a result of the illegal actions of the U.S. government and Israel. A nuclear armed Israel is almost as dangerous as a nuclear armed U.S. Don’t be fooled into supporting the U.S. against Iran. The U.S. government must be brought to account for arming Israel. We must demand that the illegal support of Israel stop immediately and threats and other actions against Iran by the U.S. and Israel also cease. 

For more information about Israel nuclear weapons program, I would urge readers to read
Seymour Hersh’s "The Samson Option, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy."


Main Palestine Israeli Nukes? Not according to the U.S.


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