The revelation in today’s Guardian that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads and missiles to apartheid-era South Africa was roundly condemned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The news comes a day after Mordechai Vanunu, who first exposed Israel’s nuclear programme, was jailed for a further 3 months for speaking to foreigners.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “This is yet further proof that despite its policy of ambiguity, Israel is not only an undeclared nuclear power, but an extremely irresponsible one.
“Offering to sell nuclear weapons is almost the worst thing a state possessing WMD can do, short of launching an attack. The clandestine transfer of nuclear technologies remains one of the greatest threats to world peace and underlines why tacit Western support for Israel’s strengthening nuclear arsenal is not only hypocritical but hugely counter-productive. Whilst EU members ramp up pressure on Iran, German taxpayers are currently subsidising the production of new submarines for Israel, widely thought to be used to carry nuclear missiles.
“The Israel/South Africa deal may have been in the past, but Israel’s current status as one of only four states outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty means its activities still remain immune from the rigorous inspections clearly needed. The promise of moves towards the creation of a WMD-free Middle East was integral to the extension of the treaty in 1995 yet leading world powers have so far done little to challenge Israel’s status as the holder of the region’s only nuclear arsenal. That this news should come out in the very week the NPT review conference, meeting at the UN, will be discussing how to achieve this underlines how this is a pressing and ongoing concern. The new British government must move from the previous rhetorical support for a WMD-free Middle East to a position of practical action, supporting the regional conference currently being proposed at the NPT.
“Israel continues its attempts at deception, rubbishing the South African documents whilst jailing the nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu yet again. It turns natural justice on its head that the man who exposed the truth of Israel’s clandestine nuclear programme has just been returned to jail for 3 months, whilst the man who negotiated the arms transfer with the apartheid regime, Shimon Peres, is now President of Israel and feted by world leaders.”
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The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.