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Israel’s nuclear weapons

Welcome to Israeli Nuclear Weapons 101 The National Interest,  Daniel R. DePetris,  September 20, 2015

1.    The Number is in Doubt:

While everyone believes that the Israelis possess a sizable nuclear arsenal, no one really knows how big that arsenal is.  In 2008, President Jimmy Carterestimated that Israel probably had a minimum of 150 weapons in stock ready to use if the most dire circumstances warrant.  Six years later, the former President revised that estimate and put the figure in the 300 range, which—based on Carter’s calculations—would mean that Israel doubled its arsenal from the 2008-2014 time-period.  Iranian foreign minister Mohammad JavadZarif told reporters at the United Nations at the height of the P5+1-Iran nuclear talks that Israel is “sitting on 400 nuclear warheads.”  The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists believes Zarif’s figure is far too large and unrealistic given the fact that Israel’s weapons are designed for deterrence purposes rather than actual hire-trigger use.  A better figure, the board writes, is “sixty-five to eighty-five warheads” as cited in a Rand Corporation study.

To put it bluntly, the world doesn’t have a clue about how many nukes Israel possesses.  And that’s precisely the point for the Israelis: the guessing game swirling over the proliferation community keeps Israel’s enemies in the region on their toes.

2.  Israel Fooled the U.S. to Get Its Program Off the Ground:

The Iranian Government has been caught building enrichment facilities by western intelligence agencies twice before.  In 2002, a dissident Iranian group provided information to the United States pointing to a large-scale enrichment facility at Natanz.  In 2009, U.S. and European intelligence uncovered another enrichment facility at Fordow buried deep into a mountain.  But Iran isn’t the only country that has deliberately deceived the United States and the international community in order to provide time for a full-on nuclear program; the Israelis, as Walter Pincus wrote in a Washington Post storyearlier this year, “blazed [the] trail decades ago.”

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Israeli Government repeatedly stonewalled U.S. requests for information on possible weapons development and at times purposely lied to their U.S. allies in the hope of giving the nuclear program more room to breath.  In 1960, Israel referred to its Dimona reactor both as a “textile plant” and as a “metallurgic research installation” to the U.S. State Department.  Foreign minister Shimon Peres assured President John F. Kennedy in a 1963 meeting in the Oval Office that Israel would “not introduce nuclear weapons to the region.”

President Kennedy was so concerned about a possible Israeli nuclear weapons program that he demanded Israel admit American inspectors into Dimona to snoop around.  The Israelis agreed to those requests, but made sure that those visits would not lead to anything incriminating: U.S. inspectors, according to a long-read investigative report in The Guardian, were not permitted to bring their own equipment or collect samples at the site.

3.    Why Israel Wanted a Bomb in The First Place:….

4.    The World Has Long Wanted Israel to Join the NPT:

Ever since 1995, when signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty officially called for the “establishment by regional parties of a Middle East zone free of weapons of nuclear and all other related weapons of mass destruction,” the United Nations has attempted to convince Israel that signing the NPT and allowing IAEA inspectors into its facilities is the best way to accomplish that objective.  Israel, however, has refused to grant those requests and has long argued that Israel’s nuclear weapons program (which the country continues to neither confirm nor deny) is not nearly the biggest threat to the Middle East’s security.

This hasn’t stopped parties to the NPT and the U.N. General Assembly from pressing the point and trying to force compliance. ……http://nationalinterest.org/feature/welcome-israeli-nuclear-weapons-101-13882 

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May 5, 2018 - Posted by | Israel, Reference, wastes

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