Agency Will Not Ask Israel to Sign Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
The United Nations nuclear watchdog narrowly rejected an Arab-sponsored resolution Friday calling on Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The vote by the International Atomic Energy Agency was a victory for the United States after a tough diplomatic battle. Washington had urged countries to vote down the symbolically important but non-binding resolution, saying it could derail broader efforts to ban nuclear warheads in the Middle East and threaten the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
- Israel is not a Party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to officially confirm or deny having a nuclear arsenal, or having developed nuclear weapons, or even having a nuclear weapons program. Israel has pledged not to be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the region, but is also pursuing a policy of strategic ambiguity with regard to their possession. This is sometimes called a policy of "nuclear opacity": Israel neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons, in what has been interpreted as an attempt to get the benefits of deterrence with a minimum political cost. In the late 1960s, Israeli Ambassador to the US Yitzhak Rabin informed the United States State Department, that its understanding of "introducing" such weapons meant that they would be tested and publicly declared, while merely possessing the weapons did not constitute "introducing" them. Israel claims that the Negev Nuclear Research Centernear Dimona is a research center. However, there is extensive evidence Israel has nuclear weapons or a near-ready nuclear weapons capability. Extensive information about the program in Dimona was also disclosed by technician Mordechai Vanunu in 1986.
- According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists, Israel likely possesses around 75–200 weapons. Imagery analysts can identify weapon bunkers, mobile missile launchers, and launch sites in satellite photographs. Israel may have tested a nuclear weapon along with South Africa in 1979, but this has never been confirmed, and interpretation of the evidence is controversial (see Vela Incident)
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