West urges Arabs not to target Israel at U.N. nuclear meet


VIENNA (Reuters) – Western envoys are urging Arab states not to berate Israel over its assumednuclear arsenal at the U.N. atomic agency’s annual conference, fearing this could imperil wider efforts for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, diplomats say.

A senior diplomat said Arab countries would criticize Israel but were divided over whether to submit a resolution on the issue to next month’s annual General Conference of the United Nations’ 154-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a surprise move at last year’s IAEA gathering, the Arab group refrained from singling out Israel in this way in what was called a “goodwill gesture” ahead of planned talks in 2012 on creating a zone without nuclear arms in the Middle East.

Israel welcomed this as a “positive” move, in a rare conciliatory exchange in an otherwise heated debate that underlined deep Arab-Israeli divisions on nuclear issues.

Diplomats said Arab states had not yet decided whether to propose a non-binding but symbolically important draft text criticizing “Israeli Nuclear Capabilities” at this year’s week-long meeting that starts on September 17.

They expressed concern that an Arab move against Israel would discourage the Jewish state from attending the talks due to be held later this year on a nuclear arms-free Middle East.

An Egyptian plan for an international meeting to lay the groundwork for the possible creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction was agreed at a review conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2010.


But the Western official organizing the conference, Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava, said in May he had yet to secure the needed attendance of all countries in the region.

It was a sign of the difficulties involved in getting Israel, its arch-foe Iran and other Middle East nations to sit around a table this year to discuss the divisive issue.

“It is a very fragile process that needs to be launched,” one European diplomat said. “Singling out Israel would not at all be helpful, would be counterproductive.”

Israel is widely believed to possess the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, drawing frequent Arab and Iranian condemnation.

The Jewish state is the only Middle Eastern country outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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.

Arab states scored a diplomatic victory in 2009 when IAEA members narrowly endorsed a resolution urging Israel to join the NPT and place all its atomic sites under agency supervision.

Brought up again in 2010 to keep up pressure on Israel, the resolution was defeated after a bruising diplomatic battle, in which Washington and its allies argued that zeroing in on Israel would harm any hope of banning nuclear arms in the region.

In June this year, Arab states asked for the “Israeli Nuclear Capabilities” issue to be put on the conference agenda, but it remains unclear whether they will follow that with a proposed resolution or refrain, as they did in 2011.

Israel’s refusal to become party to the NPT or to place its nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards is “exposing the region to nuclear risks and threatening peace”, they said.

Israel has never confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons under a policy of ambiguity aimed at deterrence.

It says it would only join the NPT after a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement. If it signed the 1970 NPT pact, it would have to renounce nuclear weaponry.

An Arab resolution aimed at Israel would “undermine any genuine attempt to promote confidence and security in the Middle East,” Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. nuclear body, Ehud Azoulay, said in a letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

  1. #1 by NAeem on 08/30/2012 - 9:34

    Yes lets not berate israel for its 300 ready to be deployed nuclear weapons but threaten to wipe out iran because of its non existent weapons program.

  2. #2 by Blake on 08/30/2012 - 9:34

    We cannot hurt the synagogue of satan’s feelings now can we. The truth kills the mammon nightmare reprobates.

  3. #3 by Bob on 08/30/2012 - 9:34

    This is more evidence (as if we needed any) of just how bereft of integrity US foriegn policy ha become. At a conference to discuss nuclear weapons proliferation, everyone is told that discussing actual Israeli nuclear weapons is “not productive”…and that pressuring or even discussing the only non-NPT signatory state in the Middle East is also “counter productive”. “Singling Israel out” for being the single nuclear armed state in the region is somehow going to undermine efforts at establishing a “nuclear free zone” in the region? Do these people realize just how utterly ridiculous this is?

    The US /Israelis use the UN and treaties like the NPT as convenient vehicles to target nations they wish to attack…using them as legal justifications for all manner of hostile acts from vicious sanctions which KILL PEOPLE to assassinations to armed conflict. Yet they simply ignore these very same institutions as “irelevant” and not applicable to Israel or anywhere else where such things could hinder Jewish interests.

    No what this conference (and the NPT itself) are about is providing a vehicle for attacking targeted nations like Iran. So rather than discussing actual Israeli nuclear weapons which are used to intimidate and threaten the entire world, we must focus on the possibility that Iran might achieve the potential to develop a nuclear weapon someday…because Lord knows Americans are living in deadly fear of an imminent nuclear attack from nuclear weapons they don’t have carried on missiles that cannot reach our shores launched by a people with whom we have no inherent conflict of vital national interests and which are residents of what is still a third world backwater. But we should have no fear of actual Israeli nuclear weapons mounted on actual missiles carried on the worlds most hi-tech non-nuclear submarines which could quite easily strike any city in the USA if the Israelis were to deem this to be desireable.

    Normalize relations with Tehran, impose sanctions on Tel Aviv. If the US government were serious about nuclear nonproliferation or upholding international law that is precisely what we would be doing. Personally, I am not interested in another war, but if there must be one, then it would be far preferable to bomb the Israelis into the stone age (something that we could do in a few days quite easily) than to engage in war with Iran which we will have “lost” (from an economic and strategic standpoint) when the first shot is fired. I seldom quote Mr. Baker, but I think he said it best when he replied to an aide’s questions about “what the Jews would think” about holding up loan guarantees for the Israelis if they did not come to the table for Oslo…”fuck the Jews”.

  4. #4 by Jim on 08/30/2012 - 9:34

    Israel would NEVER get rid of it nukes, unless they were launched at somebody….

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