Joe Biden should end the US pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons

ISRAEL-POLITICS-PARLIAMENT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in Jerusalem on May 27, 2019.. (photo by Menahem Kahana / AFP)
The cover-up has to stop – and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians

By Desmond Tutu | The Guardian  |   Dec 31, 2020

There has been an oral agreement since President Richard Nixon to accept Israel’s “nuclear ambiguity” – effectively to allow Israel the power that comes with nuclear weapons without the responsibility.

Every recent US administration has performed a perverse ritual as it has come into office. All have agreed to undermine US law by signing secret letters stipulating they will not acknowledge something everyone knows: that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Part of the reason for this is to stop people focusing on Israel’s capacity to turn dozens of cities to dust. This failure to face up to the threat posed by Israel’s horrific arsenal gives its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a sense of power and impunity, allowing Israel to dictate terms to others.

But one other effect of the US administration’s ostrich approach is that it avoids invoking the US’s own laws, which call for an end to taxpayer largesse for nuclear weapons proliferators.

Israel in fact is a multiple nuclear weapons proliferator. There is overwhelming evidence that it offered to sell the apartheid regime in South Africa nuclear weapons in the 1970s and even conducted a joint nuclear test. The US government tried to cover up these facts. Additionally, it has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

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