The Dimona nuclear power plant in the southern Israeli Negev desert. (photo: AFP)
US Rejects Proposal for WMD-Free Zone in Middle East
By Carole Landry, Agence France-Presse
23 May 15
United States, Canada and Britain opposed a plan to set up a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East
Nuclear non-proliferation talks ended without agreement on Friday after the United States, Canada and Britain opposed a plan to set up a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.
More than 150 countries took part in a month-long conference reviewing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology.
But talks on a final document outlining an action plan for the next five years hit a wall over a provision on convening a conference by March 2016 on creating a Middle East nuclear-weapons free zone.
Israel, which is not a member of the NPT but attended the conference as an observer, opposed the proposal backed by Egypt and Arab countries.
Israel is believed to be the only country that possesses a nuclear arsenal in the region, although it has never acknowledged its nuclear military capacity.
US Arms Control Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller told the NPT conference that provisions on holding the conference were "incompatible with our long-standing policies".
Gottemoeller argued that the proposed nuclear-free zone did not stand a chance of success "absent the consent of all states involved", a clear reference to Israel's opposition.
Earlier this week, the US administration had dispatched an envoy to Israel to discuss the proposal, hoping to reach a compromise that would have salvaged the final document of the NPT conference.
US blames Egypt
Gottemoeller took aim at "a number of states, in particular Egypt" for the failure of the talks, accusing them of refusing to "let go of unrealistic and unworkable conditions" to create the nuclear weapons-free zone.
The head of the British delegation to the talks, Matthew Rowland, also said the terms for convening the conference on the nuclear weapons-free zone were "a stumbling block for us".
Canada said it could not agree to the document because of the provisions that would have laid the groundwork for creating the zone banning all nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
In an eleventh-hour move, Iran, which heads the Non-Aligned Movement, requested more time to consider the final document but the session resumed with no agreement.
Iran's envoy cited the refusal of "three delegations" to agree to the final text, accusing them of blocking the consensus "with this high cost".
The envoy said this was "only to safeguard the interest of a particular non-party to the treaty that has endangered peace and security in the region by developing a nuclear capability".
At the last NPT conference in 2010, a final document called for the conference on the nuclear-free weapons zone for the Middle East to be held in 2012, but that meeting never materialised.
The NPT, which entered into force in 1970, has 190 state-parties or entities that meet every five years to take stock of progress in nuclear disarmament.
The treaty is seen as a grand bargain between the five nuclear powers and non-nuclear states which agreed to give up atomic weapon ambitions in exchange for disarmament pledges.
But non-nuclear states have been increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of disarmament and had sought during the month-long conference to press for action to speed up the reduction of stockpiles.
© 2015 Reader Supported News
Published on Portside (https://portside.org)
U.S. Press Ignores Israeli Defense Minister’s Threat to Nuke Iran
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
This is a story about the media blackout of important information about Israel: that their leaders are seriously misguided.
Two weeks ago, Electronic Intifada (EI) reported public comments by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon  in which he cited Hiroshima and Nagasaki as role models in responding to Iran. Ya’alon suggested that Israel might have to nuke Iran in order to prevent a long war: “at the end, we might take certain steps.” Last week Ali Gharib picked up the EI report at Lobelog and linked to the video of Ya’alon, speaking in English on May 5 to the Israel Law Center (and posted by that rightwing group, which supplied a transcript) .
A man asked if democracies are “at a strategic disadvantage” in dealing with a threat like Iran. Ya’alon disagreed, and without prompting, brought up the possibility of Israel nuking Iran:
Now those who claim that this battle is not fair because democracy can’t fight back tyrannical regime — not talking about terror organizations– I don’t agree with it.
In certain cases, we might take certain steps that we believe that these steps should be taken in order to defend ourselves. I mentioned the discussion about the interception of the rockets’ positions on civilian houses. We decided to do it.
I can imagine some other steps that should be taken. Of course, we should be sure that we can look at the mirror after the decision, or the operation. Of course, we should be sure that it is a military necessity. We should consider cost and benefit, of course.
But, at the end, we might take certain steps.
I do remember the story of President Truman was asked, How do you feel after deciding to launch the nuclear bombs, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000, casualties? And he said, When I heard from my officers the alternative is a long war with Japan, with potential fatalities of a couple of millions, I thought it is a moral decision.
We are not there yet. But that what I’m talking about. Certain steps in cases in which we feel like we don’t have the answer by surgical operations, or something like that.
So not only is he implicitly threatening nuclear war, he’s admitting that Israel has nukes?
Chemi Shalev of Haaretz and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, who has worked at Huffpo, retweeted the piece. Eli Clifton tweeted:
Israeli Def. Minister is using WWII and nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a moral guide for dealing w Iran
Jon Schwarz pointed out:
It would be pretty big news if Iran’s Defense Minister were asked about Israel & he started talking about Hiroshima
But there has been no coverage of this story in the mainstream media. It’s a blackout, conscious or not.
So the mainstream media are once again covering up crazy/scary/rightwing Israeli attitudes. Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times, for instance, is of the opinion that only a “small strain” in Israeli society is for holding on to the West Bank. It’s no wonder that the Times hasn’t covered Ya’alon’s frightening statement.
Yet these are the officials that the Obama administration is dealing with. These are the paranoid war-planners whom the White House has struggled to contain for years. And the American people are clueless.
(Related: Here is a report again from EI  saying that the BBC has faulted a reporter for going easy on Ya’alon:
A BBC investigation has found that one of its senior presenters, Sarah Montague, breached the organization’s editorial standards on impartiality in a radio interview she conducted with Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon in March.
(The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign had taken apart that interview, showing how Ya’alon repeatedly denied the occupation–
they enjoy already political independence. They have their own political system, government, parliament, municipalities and so forth. And we are happy with it. We don’t want to govern them whatsoever.’
They are connected with us like Siam twins, so the whole idea of full separation isn’t viable.
(EI now quotes a statement from Fraser Steel, head of complaints at BBC, agreeing with the complaints in an email:
Mr. Yaalon was allowed to make several controversial statements … without any meaningful challenge, and the program-makers have accepted that the interviewer ought to have interrupted him and questioned him on his assertions.)
Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Source URL: https://portside.org/2015-05-23/us-press-ignores-israeli-defense-minister%E2%80%99s-threat-nuke-iran
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