Israel Warns Against Bashing It Over Nukes

Arabs Plan To Step Up Pressure on Arsenal

By Reuters

Published July 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Arab diplomats signalled on Tuesday they would seek to step up pressure on Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal but the Jewish state said any attempt to “bash” it would be counterproductive.

Arab countries, angry at the lack of movement in efforts to move towards a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, have served notice they plan to target Israel for criticism at the U.N. atomic agency’s annual member state gathering in September.

“We need to raise our frustration, we need to raise our concern about this issue,” one Arab envoy in Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based, said.

Israel’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ehud Azoulay, told Reuters that Arab states “are taking a counterproductive route by raising this issue … and trying to bash Israel”.

In a letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, posted on the U.N. agency’s web site, 18 Arab member states asked for “Israeli nuclear capabilities” to be included as an agenda item of the Sept. 16-20 gathering in the Austrian capital.

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

Arab countries are considering putting forward a non-binding but symbolically important resolution on the issue after refraining from doing so at the previous two annual gatherings of the IAEA’s 159 member countries, Arab diplomats said.

Such a move would likely draw a rebuke from the United States and its Western allies, which argue that singling out Israel for blame could undermine broader steps aimed at banning weapons of mass destruction in the volatile region.

Israel is widely believed to possess the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, drawing Arab and Iranian condemnation. It is the only regional country outside the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to prevent the spread of atomic arms.

Israel and the United States regard Iran as the world’s main proliferation threat, accusing Tehran of covertly seeking a nuclear arms capability, something the Islamic state denies.

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

But the United States said late last year that the conference would not occur as planned in December 2012 and did not make clear when, or whether, it would take place. The United States, Britain and Russia are co-sponsors of the meeting.

“We are disappointed but we are still eager to convene the conference,” the Arab envoy said.

U.S. and Israeli officials have said a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East could not be a reality until there was broad Arab-Israeli peace and Iran curbed its nuclear programme.

Israel’s Azoulay said “the atmosphere in the Middle East” was not conducive to such a conference now. “You see what is happening in Syria, in Libya, in Iran, now in Egypt as well,” he said, alluding to instability and bloodshed around the region.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.