Israel Termed A 'Nuclear Power' By US Officials
By Angelique Van Engelen
In the last two weeks, two non-senior US officials indirectly called on Israel to start planning on cancelling its nuclear weapons programs. Even though they said this is not intended for ‘the foreseeable future’, their publicly terming Israel a nuclear power on a par with India and Pakistan might be a sign that the US perceives of nuclear issues as too serious to condone the double standards it employs freely on other issues.
US-Israeli relations at high level are however unlikely to be subject to much change over the issue. Much to the chagrin of the rest of the international world, which wants the US to apply pressure on Israel to actually make good on its signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention by ratifying it. Israel might also be called up to sign the Biological Weapons Convention, which it would do if it were serious about its endorsement of the objective to creating a nuclear free zone in the Middle East.
At the highest level, the US tends to avoid the Israeli nuclear issue as an element of its foreign policy toward the rest of the Arab world, but perhaps the Iranian developments no longer render this position indefinitely tennable.
Israelis, always on their guard for potential threats of size, appear a little bit nonplussed at the US’ officials remarks. An article in the daily Haaretz newspaper, where diligent reporters make note of two instances –as if they are in need of counting- of official comments by US policymakers that might indicate the end of bilateral hush hush on this core issue.
Referring to a the five yearly NPT review conference next month, Jackie Wolcott Sanders, who is the ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament and the special representative of the president for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, wrote in the State Department’s electronic journal that the goal of universal NPT adherence ought to be highlighted. She said that it should be ‘reaffirmed that India, Israel and Pakistan may join the NPT only as non-nuclear-weapon states.’ Thereby implicating that Israel is a nuclear power, something the US officially doesn’t do very often.