Op-Ed – Double standard – Israel is a nuclear power, the Pentagon just said it

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SHAFAQNA – Just as President Hassan Rouhani discussed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in Lausanne earlier this April, forced to justify Tehran’s civil program after a paranoid Benyamin Netanyahu decided to brand Iran a nuclear threat in the making, Washington confirmed what we already knew – Israel is a nuclear power.

Interestingly, or rather as expected, western media kept their mouth well shut, keen on keeping the focus away from Israel as not to have to answer some very uncomfortable questions indeed. After all the panting and ranting Netanyahu graced the world with -cartoons in hand and threats at the ready, admitting to the world that Israel is actually the one power in the region which poses a tangible threat to world security would be a rather difficult pill to swallow.

And yet, the lid has been already pulled on that one! But with all that racket in the Arabian Peninsula, with Saudi Arabia bombing Yemen to oblivion, the public has been much too busy hating on all Shia Muslims to pay attention. In this binary world Israel’s neo-cons have defined, we have been sold that Iran and by extension all Shia Muslims are bad. Why you may ask? Well no one is really clear on that one … but an “Israel said so” appear to have been enough over the past decades to fuel that fabricated mantra.

But back to Israel’s nuclear program now.

In early February, the Pentagon declassified reports on Israel’s nuclear weapons program which was carried out until 1987. According to these documents, Israeli scientists were capable of producing a hydrogen bomb by that time. Although these facts were largely ignored by Western media, some analysts have noticed that the declassification of these secret reports suspiciously coincided with the recent, rapidly deteriorating relationship between the US and Israel.

As it happens Washington’s long love affair with Tel Aviv has soured dramatically. One could argue that Netanyahu’s latest stunt at Congress was the straw which broke the camel’s back.

As Tel Aviv started a massive campaign of criticism aimed at the Obama administration, both in the US media and worldwide, the Pentagon’s revelations were quick to follow.

It is also noteworthy that only the facts on the Israeli nuclear weapons program were declassified, while information regarding similar activities of NATO allies (in particular Italy, France, and West Germany) remained locked up.

The 386 pages report “Сritical technology assessment in Israel and Nato nations,” was prepared in 1987 by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) and examined the capabilities Israel had already had at that time to produce nuclear weapons. In

particular, the study underlines the fact that Israel’s secret laboratories, engaged in the development of an atomic bomb, were on par with the key research nuclear arsenals of the US: Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

According to this report, by the mid-80s Israeli experts were at the same stage of research and development of various nuclear weapons the hydrogen bomb in particular, reached by American scientists between 1955-1960. IDA experts were courageous enough to recognize that in certain areas the Israelis have even surpassed their American colleagues of the time, in particular those working in the “Raphael” Israeli secret lab, who had managed to propose unconventional ways of achieving nuclear fission that would have allowed them to create their own version of the hydrogen bomb.

Under these conditions, one should revisit The Sunday Times article “Revealed: The Secrets of Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal” that was published on October 5, 1986. This article was based on the revelations of an Israeli nuclear scientist – Mordechai Vanunu – who disclosed the secrets of the Israeli nuclear program.

This 31 year-old Israeli expert on nuclear weapons had, by 1986, already been working for 10 years in a secret atomic center, Machon 2, that was built under the Negev desert and from the mid-60s had already been producing nuclear weapons. Then, facts and pictures that were presented by Mordechai to international experts caught them by surprise. They had to admit that by the mid-80s Israel became the sixth nuclear power after the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China, although it did its best to conceal this information. Even by that time the Israeli nuclear potential was much higher than that of India, Pakistan and South Africa, which were also suspected of developing nuclear weapons.

According to this whistle-blowing Israeli scientist, by the mid-80s the Jewish state had secret capabilities of plutonium production for more than 20 years, which would eventually reach over the years to the level of 40 kilograms annually, which is enough to produce 10 nuclear bombs. During the 80s, Israel also came into possession of equipment necessary for the production of thermonuclear devices. In particular, a French built reactor with a capacity of 26 megawatts was upgraded by Israeli scientists to reach a capacity of 150 megawatts, which allowed Israel to engage in the production of plutonium.

Nuclear specialists, which were commenting on this article in The Sunday Times, confirmed that by 1986 Israel could have had 100-200 nuclear bombs.

Some decades later one can only speculate on Israel’s military nuclear capacity.

As Julian Borger asked in a report for The Guardian, “Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s. And western governments, including Britain and the US, turn a blind eye. But how can we expect Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions if the Israelis won’t come clean?” Especially since such ambitions are limited to civilian applications.

By all accounts Israel lied and Israel hid, while all the while keeping up this charade that any powers representing a threat to its hegemony posed a threat to the world, thus ensuring that the world’s institutions would act a protective guardian and a legal buffer.

But Israel is fast running out of friend and sweeping one’s lies under the rug has become much harder indeed as foreign powers have grown tired of Tel Aviv’s ever more taxing friendship.

All those talks about nuclear non-proliferation are as empty and devoid of sincerity as Israel’s calls for peace with the Palestinians. What Israel wants is quite simply a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East – at whatever cost one might add.

Back in June 7, 1981 we all remember how Israel violated Iraq’s air space and sovereignty by targeting the Osirak nuclear reactor. Needless to say that Tel Aviv could attempt to follow a similar approach with Iran.

Maybe now would be a good time to call Israel out on its lies and force its leadership to comply with international law – that is if the concept carries any meaning anymore.

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