Israel's Nuclear Weapons: Changing the Subject of Debate

By Shahak, Israel | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 3, 1996 | Go to article overview

Israel's Nuclear Weapons: Changing the Subject of Debate


Shahak, Israel, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Israel's Nuclear Weapons: Changing the Subject of Debate

By Israel Shahak

In the present situation, when U.S. support for Israel is so great, there is absolutely no hope that Israel will sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. There is even less hope for the demand for Israel's de-nuclearization.

Let us recall that when this demand was raised only a year ago in the spring of 1995, Israel had the full support of the United States against Egypt. The latter, whose $2 billion of economic aid depends on the support of "the Jewish lobby" in the U.S. Congress, had to stop its opposition to the Israeli nuclear monopoly in the Middle East.

So what, in this admittedly bad situation, can be done? My answer is that for the time being, instead of demanding the impossible, let us initiate a debate about the possible uses of Israeli nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Officially, Israel neither admits nor denies possession of nuclear weapons. But unofficially it claims that its nuclear weapons will be used only as a last resort if it is faced by an assault from a large coalition of Arab states which would threaten its very existence.

Let us debate this claim.

Is such a coalition of Arab states now possible? Perhaps Israel, as is so often proclaimed by U.S. presidents and other officials, has such a qualitative superiority over all Arab states in non-conventional weapons that its existence or even security are not in any danger. If so, are its nuclear weapons intended for quite different aims?

Let me quote in this context from an article by Amir Oren in Ha'aretz of Dec. 27, 1995, who discusses "the principles but also the build-up" of Israeli nuclear weapons. He says, in a seemingly neutral way because of the limitations imposed by Israeli military censorship: "It is not necessary to be a partner to the secrets in order to question whether a state which has nuclear power intends to use it under certain circumstances, including in battle. It is important to question whether certain nuclear states which accumulate nuclear bombs and missiles do this for no apparent reason or whether they calculate the number of the bombs in their possession according to the number of enemy targets, as shown by various strategic plans."

In my interpretation, the seemingly vague expression "a state" applies to the state of Israel. Under the present circumstances we should say, "O.K. Israel has nuclear power and we cannot oppose this fact because of the U.S. support. But will Israel be prepared to give an undertaking not to use those weapons, either offensively against any state (Iran for example), or to protect another state?"

Where does the money for the Israeli nuclear project come from?

The last possibility is by no means a theoretical one. Ze'ev Schiff, one of the respected correspondents of the Hebrew press for strategic and military affairs, reporting from Qatar where he was on a visit, wrote in the Jan. 31 Ha'aretz that some strategic experts of the Gulf states, especially of Kuwait, proposed "an alliance between the Gulf states and Israel" on condition that "Israel should finalize its peace arrangements with Syria" first. The purpose of such an alliance is to use an "Israeli nuclear umbrella" to secure the Gulf states against Iran and Iraq.

Schiff wrote that he interviewed a British admiral who happened to be in Qatar "who analyzed the possibilities for the security of the Gulf area in the future. I asked him with astonishment, why, in his view, the Gulf states were not secure with the large American umbrella? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Israel's Nuclear Weapons: Changing the Subject of Debate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.