Picture: Israeli nuclear reactor and research center at Dimona. Credit: Wikimediacommons.org.
In an overwhelming vote, the United Nations General Assembly declared last week that apartheid Israel must immediately cease operations of all its nuclear weapons, get rid of the ones that exist, and place all its nuclear sites under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
These stipulations against Israel were outlined in a resolution submitted by Egypt on behalf of the UN-member countries that are also a part of the Arab League, including the Palestinian Authority, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
The resolution was approved by 152 countries — 79% of UN member states — with five votes against, unsurprisingly the United States and Israel, and also Canada, Micronesia and Palau. Some 24 abstentions were composed of European Union members, NATO allies and India.
Resolution calling for an end to Israel’s illegal nuclear stockpile
The resolution, titled “The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East,” highlighted the risks of unsafeguarded nuclear facilities in the Middle East and demanded that Israel follow the principles of universal adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, adopted in the region in 1995. Since then, Israel has been the only entity in the region that has repeatedly refused to sign the treaty and has spent the last few decades hypocritically denying the existence of its nuclear weapons.
A recent United Kingdom Parliamentary report states “that Israel possesses a nuclear weapons capability, outside of the framework of the NPT,” after specific details were revealed by whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu in 1988. Israel is believed to have at least 90 nuclear warheads, according to the report, and continues to produce weapons-grade plutonium.
Israel, hiding behind its imperial backer, the United States, continues its stockpiling of nuclear weapons in an extensive threat to the geopolitical stability in the Middle East. Documents from the early 1960’s, revealed in 2014, show that Washington played a key role in building Israel’s nuclear arsenal in secret while publicly denying any knowledge and adopting a line of ambiguity on nuclear power and weapons. Numerous reports since then established that the United States knew of and supported Israel’s nuclear capabilities in gross violation of international law and while punishing countries like Iran and North Korea for having or developing defensive weapons.
U.S. and Israel’s hypocritically label Iran as a nuclear threat
In the last few decades, the United States and Israel consistently labeled Iran as a nuclear threat to peace and stability in the Middle East despite Israel itself invading all bordering countries. Of note, Iran has no nuclear weapons, and signed on to the NPT as well as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the United States pulled out of. Meanwhile, Israel remained in flagrant violation of international law.
Israel violated international law on numerous occasions by blatantly attacking Iran’s nuclear power plants used to generate energy, plunging the many areas of the country already suffocated by sanctions into darkness. In April last year, senior Israeli officials hinted at Mossad’s culpability for an attack on Iran’s key nuclear site Natanz, a heinous act of nuclear terrorism. Israel has also carried out the targeted assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadh and other Iranian scientists. Israel also admitted to attacking what it called “suspected” nuclear reactors in other neighboring countries, like Syria in Operation Outside the Box.
Nasser Kanaani, spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign ministry, said in a social media post, “The advanced nuclear military program of the apartheid regime of Israel and the regime’s continued reluctance to put its nuclear facilities under comprehensive safeguards and not to join the non-proliferation treaty is a serious threat to international security and the non-proliferation regime.”
Environmental fallout in Palestinian Occupied Territory
Israel’s criminal behavior is also significantly harming Palestinians in the West Bank. In 2021, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused Israel of storing lethal radioactive waste in the West Bank and sickening Palestinians living in the area. He also linked high cancer rates in Hebron to the nearby Israeli Negev nuclear reactor, Dimona. Palestine currently suffers from major climate issues due to Israel’s seven-decade long occupation and the fallout from Israel’s military proliferation.
U.S. corporate media silence
While the UN and the international community have repeatedly pointed to and labeled Israel as a major threat to geopolitical stability in the Middle East, there has been a critical lack of coverage by the western mainstream corporate media. It is clear that the fog of fear of the United States and Israel is lifting in the international community as governments are more empowered to label Israel for what it is: an apartheid state and a gross violator of human rights in Palestine and elsewhere. The recent vote is an important recognition that Israel is the major threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.