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It is time for Israel to come clean about its nuclear weapons.

It is time for Israel to come clean about its nuclear weapons, America The Jesuit Review, Drew Christiansen, January 14, 2022  Yet again, Covid-19 has led to the postponement of the 10th Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which was originally scheduled for 2020, the 50th anniversary of the treaty going into effect. The meeting of the state parties to the treaty is now delayed until this coming August. The treaty is the most important in the badly shredded network of arms control agreements that were drawn up in the Cold War and post-Cold War eras to prevent nuclear war and to set the world on the path to abolition of nuclear weapons.

The NPT is the one treaty to which the historic, or legacy, nuclear powers (China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) all belong. All have opposed the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that explicitly aims for the abolition of nuclear weapons. But non-nuclear states largely support the TPNW, as they believe the legacy states have abused the NPT to defend their own interests and, particularly in the last decade, to evade their own commitments to nuclear disarmament.

Non-nuclear states also perceive legacy states as playing favorites with certain nations outside the NPT, including Israel. In today’s nuclear landscape, however, Israel can no longer justify its evasiveness about its nuclear status, and its aggressive policies toward potential nuclear states among its regional rivals have made it a destabilizing force, constraining progress toward disarmament. It is time for Israel to come clean about its nuclear capacity and to join the international system of arms control.

The new realities of a multipolar nuclear world

While the TPNW establishes a duty for member states to try to universalize the treaty, the NPT has no such requirement. Its members seem content to sustain the status quo with a divide between the legacy nuclear states and non-nuclear states, with four nuclear-armed states outside the treaty (Pakistan, India and North Korea, in addition to Israel). In recent years, however, the bipolar balance of power between the United States and the former Soviet Union that sustained the treaty, with lesser powers in subordinate roles, has evolved dramatically.

This means that in its 52nd year, the NPT, with its current membership, is less useful as a framework for nuclear disarmament than it was only a decade ago. New realities include the fact that China is vying to become a nuclear superpower on par with the United States and Russia by modernizing its nuclear arsenal. Also, North Korea has become a powerful rogue state, developing a variety of weapons and delivery systems, challenging the United States, and threatening America’s East Asian allies of South Korea and Japan.

As for Israel, it remains the sole (though undeclared) possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and seems determined to remain so. Securing its nuclear superiority has become the driving force of its strategic policy. After bombing nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria, it has reportedly conducted assassinations of nuclear scientists and sabotage operations, and it encouraged the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 international agreement designed to deny Iran the potential for developing its own bomb. Senior Israeli aides now regard those moves as a mistake because the Iranian program has shown surprising resilience. The situation in Iran is also a reminder that in a multipolar nuclear world, with major actors outside the NPT, that treaty fails to provide the nuclear peace it once promised……………….. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2022/01/14/israel-npt-nuclear-nonproliferation-treaty-242184

January 15, 2022 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK and Israel pledge to stop Iran gaining nuclear weapons

UK and Israel pledge to stop Iran gaining nuclear weapons

Israeli FM Yair Lapid visits London and Paris to discuss Iran, as talks on the 2015 nuclear deal restart in Vienna. Aljazeera, 29 Nov 21,

The United Kingdom and Israel will “work night and day” in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, the foreign ministers of the two countries wrote in a joint article.

“The clock is ticking, which heightens the need for close cooperation with our partners and friends to thwart Tehran’s ambitions,” the UK’s Liz Truss and her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid wrote in The Telegraph newspaper on Sunday.

Lapid arrived in London on Sunday for a two-day trip to the UK and France, a day before talks on Iran’s nuclear programme restart in Vienna.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier in the day that his country was “very worried” that world powers will remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for insufficient caps on its nuclear programme, as negotiators convene in Vienna on Monday in a last-ditch effort to salvage a nuclear deal…………………..  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/29/uk-and-israel-pledge-to-stop-iran-gaining-nuclear-weapons

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

The U.S. Is Bracing for Blows With Israel as Iran Nuclear Talks Near


The U.S. Is Bracing for Blows With Israel as Iran Nuclear Talks Near,  
 U.S. officials say it’s already much more difficult to carry out a cyberattack to set back Iran’s nuclear program as Iran improves air defenses and places nuclear facilities underground.   Amos Harel, Haaretz, 22 Nov 21,
The closer we get to the scheduled renewal Monday in Vienna of the talks to restore Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, the more the psychological warfare between the sides escalated. Oddly, perhaps, very few of these skirmishes are between Tehran and its negotiating partners. Most of them are between two countries that won’t have a foot in the door at the talks. The first is the United States, whose representatives will be in Vienna but won’t be participating in the direct talks on account of Iranian opposition. The other is Israel.

……………………. President Joe Biden’s hope that in his first year in office he could return to the agreement and afterward focus on a “longer, stronger” deal, has been dashed, in light of Iran’s intentional delaying policy. The regime in Tehran delayed talks during the period of the presidential elections in Iran, and waited a few more months after the hawkish President Ebrahim Raisi, entered office.

This is the current U.S. position, but the conclusion that goes along with it is interesting. According to the administration, not only has the policy of maximum pressure led by former president Donald Trump collapsed. Israel’s sabotage campaign against Iran’s nuclear program has also failed.   Moreover, paradoxically, it seems that these actions have only served to move the Iranians closer to their goal…….. over the past 20 months Israel assassinated the head of the Iranian nuclear project, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and caused significant explosions in four nuclear and missile facilities in Iran, in the hopes of delaying the ability of Iran to build a bomb. But the result, according to U.S. intelligence officials and the international inspectors, was the opposite of what was intended. The Iranians quickly restored operations at the sites and installed new centrifuges that can enrich uranium more rapidly.

…………….  the sources in the U.S. administration believe that Iran wants to reach the status of a nuclear threshold state, which will leave it a very short distance from manufacturing a bomb if it wants to. This gloomy conclusion underscores the most recent report of the Institute for Science and International Security. In the report, published Sunday, the chief researcher of the prestigious U.S. think tank, David Albright, writes that Iran has enough uranium enriched to near-20 and 60 percent to produce sufficient weapon-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon in as little as three weeks. Albright adds that some of the major advances are due to the installation of advanced centrifuges.

If Iran wants to manufacture a nuclear weapon, it still needs to execute the military part of its program – installing the bomb as a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile, a process that according to various experts could take another one to two years. And yet, Albright’s conclusion shows how much the Iranians have advanced while the administrations in Washington – first Trump’s and now Biden’s – persuaded themselves that they were dealing well with the problem.  https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-the-u-s-is-bracing-for-blows-with-israel-as-iran-nuclear-talks-near-1.10407853

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Likud MK: Israel must strike Iran by year’s end if there’s no new nuke deal

Likud MK: Israel must strike Iran by year’s end if there’s no new nuke deal, Times of Israel, 

Tzachi Hanegbi says opposition party will give full backing if government decides to attack Tehran’s nuclear program

By TOI STAFF   31 Oct 21, Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi said Saturday that in the absence of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, Israel should carry out a strike on the Islamic Republic by the end of the year, adding that the government would have the full backing of his party on the matter……….  https://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-mk-israel-must-strike-iran-by-years-end-if-theres-no-new-nuke-deal/

November 1, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel preparing for possible strike on Iranian nuclear sites

Israel preparing for possible strike on Iranian nuclear sites, La Prensa Latina, By Sara Gomez Armas Online News EditorOctober 25, 2021  

Ovda Airbase, Israel, Oct 25 (EFE).- The Israeli Air Force is preparing for a potential attack on Iran to stop the Islamic Republic from producing nuclear weapons in case negotiations with world powers in Vienna collapse.

The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) have continuously trained and upgraded their capabilities to deal with the different Iranian threats. It’s definitely one of the most important core issues we are dealing with in the 2022 plan,” army spokesman Lt. Col. Amnon Shefler tells Efe from the Ovda Airbase in southern Israel, where the military drills are taking place.

The Israeli army has launched a new department in charge of dealing “solely and directly with the Iranian threat,” says Shefler.

Military sources confirmed to Efe that Aviv Kohavi, the IDF chief of general staff, has ordered the Israeli Air Force to step up training for a possible strike on Iran and that the defense ministry has requested a budget increase for the military in 2022.

Backing the budget hike, which needs to be approved in parliament before November 14, finance minister Avigdor Lieberman said last week that “a confrontation with Iran is only a matter of time and not a lot of time.”……..

Israel is currently hosting the Blue Flag international training exercise at Ovda Airbase, with the air forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Greece and India.

“This is the biggest and most advanced exercise ever hosted in Israel,” says the chief of Air Force training, Brig. Gen. Amir Lazar. https://www.laprensalatina.com/israel-preparing-for-possible-strike-on-iranian-nuclear-sites/

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactor worker wins NIS one million cancer compensation.

Nuclear reactor worker wins NIS one million cancer compensation

‘G,’ a 78-year-old pensioner from Beersheba, claimed to have been continually exposed to hazardous materials and radioactive radiation at the Dimona nuclear reactor.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF   SEPTEMBER 19, 2021  A Dimona nuclear reactor technician, who twice contracted cancer since his retirement, will be compensated in the sum of over NIS one

million, N12 reported on Sunday.’G,’ a 78-year-old pensioner from Beersheba, worked as a chemistry technician at the Dimona nuclear reactor for 32 years before retiring in 2003.

The retired technician claimed to have been continually exposed to hazardous materials and radioactive radiation, which caused him to develop five cancerous tumors which were surgically removed, as well as battling bladder and prostate cancer.He also claimed that there was no proper supervision and no means of radiation protection given to him during his time working in the reactor.”I went through a troubling period in my life. I couldn’t believe my job would bring me to this situation,” he reportedly noted in a claim filed to social security…….. https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/nuclear-reactor-worker-wins-nis-one-million-cancer-compensation-679783

September 20, 2021 Posted by | health, Israel, Legal | Leave a comment

Mossad assassinated Iran’s top nuclear scientist using an artificial-Intelligence-powered, remote-controlled machine gun

Mossad assassinated Iran’s top nuclear scientist using an AI-powered, remote-controlled machine gun, report says, Business Insider Joshua ZitserSep. 19, 2021,  Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, “father” of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, was on Israel’s hit list since 2007.In November 2020, the Mossad pulled off a hit using a remote-controlled, AI-powered machine gun.It was controlled by operatives outside of Iran, who killed Fakhrizadeh in under a minute, per NYT……………….. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/mossad-remote-controlled-machine-gun-kill-iran-nuke-expert-nyt-2021-9 

September 20, 2021 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Israel’s ‘alarmist claims’ raise the stakes against Iran


Israel’s ‘alarmist claims’ raise the stakes against Iran, Israeli leaders have issued a series of threats against Iran over its nuclear programme, reviving ‘plans’ for action.   Aljazeera,   By Thomas O Falk, 5 Sept 21

Israeli leaders have revived threats against Iran after warning it is just months away from possessing a nuclear weapon.

The United States and Israel have formed a high-level team to tackle the Iran nuclear issue, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced last week after meeting President Joe Biden.

“The immediate follow-up was to form a joint team based on the joint objectives of rolling Iran back into their box and preventing Iran from ever being able to break out a nuclear weapon,” Bennett said

“We set up a joint team with our national security adviser and America’s, and we’re working very hard, and the cooperation is great… The president was very clear about he won’t accept Iran going nuclear, now or in the future.”

In light of the lack of progress on the negotiations with Iran on a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Biden said during his meeting with Bennett at the White House that “other options” would be possible if the diplomatic approach with Tehran failed.

Israel’s Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, meanwhile, urged the international community to develop a “Plan B” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons as prospects of returning to the 2015 nuclear deal dwindle.

“Iran is only two months away from acquiring the materials necessary for a nuclear weapon,” Gantz told dozens of ambassadors and envoys at an August 25 briefing.

“Iran has the intention to destroy Israel and is working on developing the means to do so,” he said. “Israel has the means to act and will not hesitate to do so. I do not rule out the possibility that Israel will have to take action in the future in order to prevent a nuclear Iran.”

‘Not empty words’

While Gantz did not go into specifics, analysts have their own idea of what Plan B could mean.

“What is referred to as Plan B actually appears to be Israel’s Plan A – coercive measures that likely will draw the US and Iran into a broader war that will see the balance in the region shift dramatically in the direction of Israel while forestalling any US-Iran rapprochement for years if not decades,” Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, told Al Jazeera

However, even if Plan B were slightly more subtle than the aforementioned scenario, Gantz’s words should be taken seriously, said Yaniv Voller, senior lecturer in politics of the Middle East at the University of Kent.

“These threats are not merely empty words. Israel and the US have proved that they can carry out operations inside Iran and sabotage Iranian nuclear facilities and infrastructure,” Voller told Al Jazeera.

The choice of words by Gantz is reminiscent of the previous times Israel exaggerated the Iranian threat, security experts said.

“These claims are probably no more valid than the whole series of alarmist claims the Israelis have been making about Iran’s nuclear capability since the 1990s,” Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and chair of the Middle Eastern Studies programme at the University of San Francisco, told Al Jazeera.

“Each and every one of these frightening predictions over the past quarter-century has proven wrong, so there is no reason to take this latest iteration any more seriously.”

Key stumbling block

The dispute over the international nuclear agreement with Iran remains one of the primary reasons for the tensions in the Middle East, which have increased in recent years. Israel continues to feel its very existence is threatened by Iran’s nuclear programme…………………..   https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/9/5/israels-alarmist-claims-raise-the-stakes-against-iran

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel accelerates plans for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear programme

Israel ‘Speeding Up’ Operational Plans Against Iran’s Nuclear Program

by Algemeiner Staff   26 Aug 21, As Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in Washington, DC ahead of his Thursday meeting with US President Joe Biden, the Israel Defense Forces revealed that it has accelerated its plans for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear program…….

The military said that Maj. Gen. Tal Kalman, the head of its Iran file, is at work on operational plans to attack Iran’s nuclear program as well as its missile and rocket sites, Walla reported.

The IDF assesses that Iran does not immediately plan to increase its enrichment of uranium beyond the 60% level, but that Tehran is unlikely to compromise in the talks over returning to the deal…….

The IDF also confirmed on Wednesday that Israel had struck some 31 Hezbollah targets in Syria over the last tw    https://www.algemeiner.com/2021/08/25/idf-says-israel-speeding-up-operational-plans-against-irans-nuclear-program/

August 26, 2021 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mainstream media ignores how Israel continues sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal 

Mainstream media ignores how Israel continues sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal  https://mondoweiss.net/2021/08/mainstream-media-ignores-how-israel-continues-sabotaging-the-iran-nuclear-deal/Once again, the danger of conflict between Israel and Iran is rising. Once again, the mainstream U.S. media is either ignoring or distorting the news.BY JAMES NORTHAUGUST 4, 2021  Once again, the danger of conflict between Israel and Iran is rising. Once again, the mainstream U.S. media is either ignoring or distorting the news.

A drone attacked an Israeli-linked oil tanker in the Arabian Sea last week, and after a few days the U.S., Britain and Israel all accused Iran. The Washington Post report briefly noted that the drone strike is the latest in “tit-for-tat attacks” by both Israel and Iran, but stopped there. The Post nowhere mentioned that Israel is credibly charged with sponsoring attacks inside Iran, including assassinating Iranian scientists. At least the Post carried a report: the New York Times so far has ignored the latest escalation. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised a “collective response” to the allegedly Iranian drone attack, but the new Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett warned that Israel could act against Iran on its own.

You have to turn to Fred Kaplan in Slate to find out what’s really going on here. Kaplan, who is not known as a foreign policy dove, accurately points out that the escalation must be considered against the backdrop of the negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal, which have reportedly stalled. He starts by noting that in the past two years “Israel has launched at least 10 attacks on Iranian vessels,” a statistic missing in the Post and Times. Even more vitally, Kaplan explains that Israel stokes the tension to try and sabotage the deal. He says that once Biden took office, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu “stepped up attacks on Iran — knowing that Iran would strike back, which would make a new nuclear deal still more unpalatable politically.”

Kaplan connects the dots:

On April 6, hours before U.S., Iranian and European diplomats assembled in Vienna to reopen talks on the nuclear deal, an elite commando unit of the Israeli Navy attacked an Iranian military vessel.

Netanyahu is gone, for now, but Kaplan argues that Bennett must maintain the same hardline, anti-nuclear deal policy: “Israel’s fragile new government is in no position to take daring moves toward engaging with Iran.”

Contrast Kaplan’s insights about the Iran deal with a July 31 New York Times report on the same subject. The Times article does warn that the negotiations have stalled. But somehow the paper does not mention Israel one single solitary time. 

August 5, 2021 Posted by | Israel, media | Leave a comment

Israel Says Iran Should ‘Never Become a Nuclear Power.’ But What if It Already Is One?

Analysis | Israel Says Iran Should ‘Never Become a Nuclear Power.’ But What if It Already Is One? When politicians talk of a ‘nuclear Iran,’ what exactly do they mean? It is important to understand the terminology, and also for Israel to be on the same page as the Americans before nuclear talks resume The epicenter of the core of Israeli policy on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and program can be reduced to one sentence: “Israel will never allow Iran to become a nuclear power.” A sentence that says it all despite the inherent vagueness, and accurately reflects Israeli interests and its mode of thought….. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-iran-is-already-a-nuclear-threshold-state-can-israel-live-with-it-1.10072666

August 5, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel determined to“maintain military superiority”, in preparation for a nuclear Iran

Gantz: We must ‘adapt our plans’ to prepare for a nuclear Iran

Prime minister says Israel carefully monitoring situation in Lebanon and that IDF currently in better place than it was in 2006 war against Hezbollah, Tims of Israel, By JUDAH ARI GROSS15 July 2021
, Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday called for Israel to step up its preparations for the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon……… Israel has maintained that as it is not part of the nuclear deal, it is free to act as it sees fit to prevent Iran from obtaining an atomic bomb.

In his speech, Gantz called for the government to allow the country’s security services to “maintain military superiority, which ensures our secure existence and advances peace.”

The remark appeared to refer to a report by the Kan broadcaster earlier in the evening that the IDF was asking the government for a major budget increase, in large part to prepare itself to conduct strikes aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear pursuit………https://www.timesofisrael.com/gantz-we-must-adapt-our-plans-to-prepare-for-a-nuclear-iran/

July 17, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel’s outgoing top Mossad chief reveals that they caused recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and murdering their scientists.

Israel spy on Iran nuclear scientists: ‘We offer them a way out’, Aljazeera

The outgoing spy agency chief reveals Israel was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and its top scientist.  
The outgoing chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service has offered the closest acknowledgement yet his country was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and a military scientist.

The comments by Yossi Cohen, speaking to Israel’s Channel 12 investigative programme Uvda in a segment aired on Thursday night, offered an extraordinary debriefing by the head of the typically secretive agency in what appears to be the final days of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule.

It also gave a clear warning to other scientists in Iran’s nuclear programme that they too could become targets for assassination even as diplomats in Vienna try to negotiate terms to try to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. United States President Joe Biden has dispatched his diplomats to revive the landmark deal from which his predecessor, Donald Trump, walked away in 2018.

“If the scientist is willing to change career and will not hurt us anymore, then yes, sometimes we offer them” a way out, Cohen said.

Among the major attacks to target Iran, none have struck deeper than two explosions over the last year at its Natanz nuclear facility. There, centrifuges enrich uranium from an underground hall designed to protect them from air strikes.

In July 2020, a mysterious explosion tore apart Natanz’s advanced centrifuge assembly, which Iran later blamed on Israel. Then in April of this year, another blast tore apart one of its underground enrichment halls.

Discussing Natanz, the interviewer asked Cohen where he would take them if they could travel there, he said “to the cellar” where “the centrifuges used to spin”.

“It doesn’t look like it used to look,” he added.

Iran nuclear programme is peaceful

Cohen did not directly claim the attacks, but his specificity offered the closest acknowledgement yet of an Israeli hand in the attacks. The interviewer, journalist Ilan Dayan, also seemingly offered a detailed description in a voiceover of how Israel snuck the explosives into Natanz’s underground halls.

“The man who was responsible for these explosions, it becomes clear, made sure to supply to the Iranians the marble foundation on which the centrifuges are placed,” Dayan said. “As they install this foundation within the Natanz facility, they have no idea that it already includes an enormous amount of explosives.”

They also discussed the November killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist who began Tehran’s military nuclear programme decades ago. The US and its regional ally Israel suspect that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran has long maintained its programme is peaceful.

While Cohen on camera does not claim the killing, Dayan in the segment described Cohen as having “personally signed off on the entire campaign”. Dayan also described how a remotely operated machine gun fixed to a pick-up truck killed Fakhrizadeh and later self-destructed.

Cohen described an Israeli effort to dissuade Iranian scientists from taking part in the programme, which had seen some abandon their work after being warned, even indirectly, by Israel. Asked by the interviewer if the scientists understood the implications if they did not stop, Cohen said: “They see their friends.”

They also talked about Israel’s operation seizing archival documents from Iran’s military nuclear programme. Dayan said 20 agents – none Israelis – seized material from 32 safes, then scanned and transmitted a large portion of the documents. Cohen confirmed that the Mossad received most of the material before it was physically taken out of Iran……… https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/11/ex-mossad-chief-signals-israel-behind-iran-nuclear-attacks

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Israel’s 1981 bombing of Iraq nuclear reactor may have fuelled Saddam’s nuclear ambitions

ILeaked documents reveal secret French plans to stop Baghdad from getting nuclear weaponsBorzou DaragahiInternational Correspondent@borzou   Four decades ago, a squadron of Israeli fighter jets on a secret mission snuck over Saudi Arabian airspace and swooped in to destroy an Iraqi nuclear reactor site that was being built by French and Italian engineers just outside Baghdad. It was a surprise attack lauded by Israel’s defenders and cited as an example of effective derring-do, showing how raw military power could serve as a tool of arms control.

But a trove of previously secret United States documents release…….. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/israel-iraq-nuclear-osirak-military-b1861255.html

June 8, 2021 Posted by | Iraq, Israel, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Israeli public opinion makes a US-Iran nuclear deal urgent

Israeli public opinion makes a US-Iran nuclear deal urgent, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Doreen Horschig | May 14, 2021   Israel has consistently opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the Biden administration is seeking to revive. The recent diplomatic talks in Vienna have been a welcome opportunity for proponents of the deal. But when progress was reported, Israel allegedly damaged an Iranian military vessel and a few days later caused a power outage at the Iranian nuclear site in Natanz.

Israel believes Tehran never abandoned its ambition to become a nuclear-armed state and that the deal paves the path for realizing this ambition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration have been trying to convince the United States that a return to the JCPOA would be a mistake unless major flaws are addressed.

There are some straightforward reasons why it might be in Israel’s interest to revive the JCPOA, including a reduction of Iran’s installed centrifuges and stockpiles of enriched uranium. But another reason for reviving the deal has received little attention: Israeli public opinion. Not because the public supports the JCPOA (they don’t), but because—as my own recent research found—the Israeli public is highly hawkish and would be supportive of a nuclear first strike against a nuclear-armed Iran.

In other words, the world cannot rely on the Israeli public to avoid atomic warfare in the Middle East. Because of this, the Biden administration needs to redouble its efforts to make sure that the United States and Iran re-enter the nuclear deal. If Iran further develops the bomb and eventually obtains it, Israel’s government has public backing for a nuclear first strike against Iran—which would be both a regional and global disaster. The Israeli public will not provide a constraint if a nuclear strike is being considered………………

Israeli public opinion. Very few recent polls have attempted to identify preferences among the Israeli population for a nuclear strike. To fill this gap, I worked with Midgam—an Israeli research and consulting firm that frequently partners with academics—last summer to survey a nationally representative sample of 1,022 Israeli adults, including both Jews and Arabs. The survey aims to understand the circumstances under which people might support a first strike with a nuclear weapon………..

My survey results confirm a large hawkish majority indeed lurks within the Israeli public. Survey respondents read a government press release presenting a scenario that included an Iranian nuclear threat—and suggesting that an Israeli nuclear strike would effectively destroy an Iranian nuclear facility. The respondents were then asked: “Given the facts described in the article, if Israel decides to strike, how much would you approve or disapprove of this decision?” The findings suggest that 60 percent of Israelis approved of a nuclear first strike on Natanz if they felt threatened by a (hypothetically) nuclear-armed Iran. Even with a reminder of likely Iranian retaliation, approval for a strike was higher (45 percent) than disapproval (38 percent).

When I dug deeper to explore why some people are so supportive of the use of an atomic bomb, my research suggested that Israelis who were reminded of their mortality (through open-ended questions about their own deaths) were significantly more likely to support nuclear use in a first strike than those who were not reminded of death. Though it may seem paradoxical, a theory of psychology called Terror Management Theory predicts just that. It suggests that, when individuals are prompted to think of their own death, they become less risk-averse and increase their support for extreme aggression toward whatever it is that challenges their worldview—a worldview that normally provides a defensive death-denying belief. And what could remind Israelis more of their death than the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran?

This all suggests that the public cannot be counted on to be a constraint on Israeli leadership. Unlike during the Cold War, when people took to the streets to protest the US-Soviet arms race and use of nuclear weapons, there is currently no visible pro-disarmament sentiment in Israel. No public opposition in Israel will put a check on an Israeli nuclear first strike.

To avoid a dire conflict, it is in Israel’s interest to support diplomatic steps. So far, the JCPOA has prevented a trajectory to a nuclear first strike more effectively than counterproliferation measures and withdrawal did. If Israel needs one more reason to sympathize with the JCPOA, here it is: Public hawkishness could be a contributing factor that spirals the country into a nuclear crisis.

……….. If Israel wants to prevent a situation in which a nuclear-armed Iran causes the Israeli citizenry to support a nuclear first strike, then it should get on board with the JCPOA. And the Israeli public’s hawkishness should give the Biden administration an increased sense of purpose and urgency.

The window of opportunity to revive the Iran nuclear deal is closing quickly………………While the deal is not perfect, it’s at least a measure that has shown effectiveness in the past. ……….https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/israeli-public-opinion-makes-a-us-iran-nuclear-deal-urgent?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=MondayNewsletter05172021&utm_content=NuclearRisk_IranDealUrgent_05142021

May 18, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international, public opinion | Leave a comment