Nuclear Israel revisited

Joseph Massad writes: How many times must this story be retold? It is common knowledge in the United States, in Europe, in the Arab World, indeed in the entire world. The international press has been reporting on it since the late 1960s. The historical details of the story are also well known. In 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower gave Israel its first small nuclear reactor at Nahal Sorek; in 1964, the French built for Israel its much larger and major Dimona nuclear reactor in the Naqab (Negev) Desert; in 1965, Israel stole 200 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from the United States through its spies at the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation company in Pennsylvania; in 1968, Israel hijacked a Liberian ship in international waters and stole its 200-ton shipment of yellowcake. Israel has possessed nuclear bombs since the early 1970s. Despite official US denials, Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, reportedly prepared to launch 13 nuclear bombs on Syria and Egypt in 1973 and was stopped short of committing this genocidal act when Henry Kissinger gave Israel the most massive weapons airlift in history at the time to reverse the course of the 1973 war (as Time Magazine reported the story). Israel has had an ongoing nuclear weapons collaboration with the South African Apartheid regime for decades, which only ended with the collapse of the regime in 1994.

Since then, experts have estimated that Israel has upwards of 400 nuclear devices, including thermonuclear weapons with megaton range, as well as neutron bombs, tactical nuclear weapons, and suitcase nukes. It also has the missile delivery systems to launch them with a reach of 11,500km (which can reach beyond Iran). Israel also has submarines that are capable of launching nuclear attacks as well as jet fighters that can deliver Israel’s nuclear cargo.

Israel has diligently prevented its neighbours from even acquiring nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes. It violated international law by bombing the Iraqi French-built Osirak nuclear reactor still under construction in 1981 in an unprovoked raid even though the reactor was going to be used, according to the French and Iraqi governments, for peaceful scientific purposes. Israel also bombed what intelligence reports allege was a North Korean nuclear reactor under construction in Syria in 2007. Israel’s Mossad has also been linked to the assassination of numerous Egyptian, Iraqi, and Iranian nuclear scientists over the decades. Israel continues to refuse to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to allow members of the International Atomic Energy Commission to inspect its Dimona reactor.

Israel, a predatory and aggressive country that has consistently launched wars on all its neighbours since its establishment, expelled hundreds of thousands of people, created millions of Palestinian, Lebanese, and Egyptian refugees, murdered tens of thousands of civilians and used internationally-banned weapons (from napalm to phosphorous bombs, to name the most notorious cases), continues to occupy the Palestinian territories and the Palestinian people in violation of international law, is governed by a foundational anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racist state ideology to which all its leaders, governing structures, and institutions adhere, as does its popular and political culture and a variety of its laws. Indeed, Israel not only consistently launches wars against its neighbours but also urges world powers to invade these neighbours as well, and in the meanwhile sponsors anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racist campaigns of hatred in the United States and across Europe in addition to integrating such racism in its school and university curricula and much of its cultural production.

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