Israel's "Secret" Nuclear Weapons

Image: Clara Figueiredo, Tempo_Fotografia, Digital, Luiz Beltrame, 2017
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By DESMOND TUTU

Will Joe Biden put an end to the US policy of covering up the existence of this atomic arsenal?

Every past ruler in the United States has practiced a perverse ritual upon assuming power. They agreed to subvert the law by signing secret letters stipulating that they would not recognize something that everyone already knows: that Israel has an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Getting the focus off of Israel's ability to turn dozens of cities to dust was one of the reasons for this practice. This failure to address the threat posed by Israel's terrible arsenal gives its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a sense of power and impunity, allowing him to Israel dictate your terms to others.

However, another effect of the ostrich strategy adopted by the government is that it exempts it from invoking the US law itself, which orders the interruption of benefits offered with taxpayers' money to countries that proliferate nuclear weapons.

Israel is, in fact, a nuclear weapons proliferator. There is abundant evidence that, in the 1970s, the country offered them to the apartheid regime in South Africa. The two countries even held a joint nuclear test, and the US government tried to cover up these facts. Israel has not even signed the non-proliferation treaty.

Even so, the governments of Israel and the United States pressed for the invasion of Iraq under the false pretext of future atomic mushrooms. As the whistleblower said Mordechai Vanunu: Nuclear weapons weren't in Iraq – they are in Israel.

Amendments proposed by former Senators Stuart Symington and John Glenn to the Foreign Assistance Act prohibit economic and military assistance to nuclear weapons proliferators and countries acquiring atomic arsenals. In his presidency, Jimmy Carter invoked such clauses against India and Pakistan.

But no president has done that with Israel. Quite the opposite. There has, since the Nixon administration, been an oral agreement to accept Israeli “nuclear ambiguity” – effectively giving Israel the power that comes with possessing nuclear weapons without the responsibilities that this entails. And such secret letters really existed, according to the magazine The New Yorker, since the Clinton administration.

American politicians and presidents have refused to recognize that Israel has nuclear weapons, even though the law exceptionally allows funding to continue if the president certifies to Congress that helping a proliferator would be of vital interest to the United States.

Israel's gross domestic product per capita is comparable to that of Great Britain. However, the amount of taxpayer funds sent to this country exceeds that offered to any other country. Taking inflation into account, the publicly known amount of these funds is now approaching the 300 billions of dollars.

This farce must end. The US government needs to uphold its laws and cut funding to Israel in response to its nuclear weapons acquisition and proliferation practices.

The newly sworn Biden administration needs to categorically recognize that Israel is one of the main investors in nuclear proliferation in the Middle East – properly applying the law. Other governments – in particular that of South Africa – need to insist on the primacy of justice and advocacy for meaningful disarmament, as well as press as strongly as possible for the US government to take action.

Apartheid in South Africa was a horrible experience, and it is horrible when Israel practices its own form of apartheid against Palestinians, with its checkpoints and an oppressive political system. Incidentally, another US rule, the Leahy Act, prohibits military aid to governments that systematically violate human rights.

It is possible that one of the reasons for the longer survival of Israeli apartheid, compared to South Africa, is the fact that Israel managed to maintain its system of oppression not only through the weapons of its soldiers, but also with its nuclear cannon aimed at millions. of heads. The solution to this problem does not lie in Palestinians and other Arabs trying to take possession of these weapons. The solution is peace, justice and disarmament.

South Africa has learned that it is only with truth leading to reconciliation that peace and justice can truly be achieved. But none of them will come without the truth being faced directly – and few truths are more crucial than a nuclear arsenal in the hands of an apartheid regime.

* Desmond Tutu He is Archbishop of the Anglican Church. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Translation: Daniel Pavan

Originally published in the newspaper The Guardian.

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