Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Israel has nukes, film at 11
Ehud Olmert slips up and commits and act of truth, and the Israelis are mad at him, why? Why are they so intent on hiding the fact that they have nukes? Ashamed, perhaps, that they are flouting international nuclear conventions in much the same way as, say Pakistan and India did in the '90s, or the way the West says Iran is now? Hm?
In an interview with a German television station broadcast Monday, Olmert appeared to list Israel among the world's nuclear powers, violating the country's long-standing policy of not officially acknowledging that it has atomic weapons.

Asked by the interviewer about Iran's calls for the destruction of Israel, Olmert replied that Israel has never threatened to annihilate anyone.

"Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map," Olmert said. "Can you say that this is the same level, when you are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?"

Israel, which foreign experts say has the sixth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, has stuck to a policy of ambiguity on nuclear weapons for decades, refusing to confirm or deny whether it has them.

The comments came days after incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in testimony to a Senate committee, identified Israel as a nuclear power.

With Olmert's quote featured on the front pages of all of Israel's major papers Tuesday and with political rivals calling for his resignation, aides to Olmert - who was in Berlin Tuesday on a state visit - hurriedly said the remark had been misinterpreted.
Misinterpreted, meaning it could have been interpreted to mean that perhaps Israel's neighbors have a reason to want nukes ... because Israel has them?
Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin said the prime minister had been listing not nuclear states but "responsible nations."

"The prime minister stated clearly that Israel will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East," Eisin said, adding that the quote had been "taken out of context."
Out of context? Won't be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East? But dear, you already have. Let's get to the meat of the matter:
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, of the hard-line Likud, another opposition party, said the comment could hurt Israel's attempt to get the international community to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Shalom said Olmert "gave tools" to Israel's enemies, allowing them to say, "Why are you dealing only with Iran while Israel is confirming that it has the same kind of weapons?"
Why indeed. This is the country that jailed one of its own nuclear scientists for 18 years for simply acknowledging publicly that the Israelis have such weapons, and which continues to hold him under virtual house arrest and bar him from leaving the country. Such democracy...

And the fundamental question is this: why should the world tolerate Israel's illicit possession of nuclear weapons any more than it tolerates such posession by Iran, Saudi Arabia or Egypt, all of whom are said to be pursuing nukes? Is there an inherent European and Jewish right to such weapons that excludes Muslims and Arabs, and if so, under what law does that rule exist?

Answers are needed...

Meanwhile, a Ha-aretz columnist responds to Jimmy Carter on the issue of West Bank Apartheid...

Tags: , , iran, Olmert, politics, nuclear
posted by JReid @ 10:45 AM  
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