The other day Mike Desch asked on this site why amid all the pressure on Iran not to get a nuke there’s no talk about Israel’s many nuclear warheads. Eli Lake answers that question in today’s Washington Times.
President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said.
The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, said Mr. Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May.
Under the understanding, the U.S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.
Israel had been nervous that Mr. Obama would not continue the 1969 understanding because of his strong support for nonproliferation and priority on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons…
The secret understanding could undermine the Obama administration’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In particular, it could impinge on U.S. efforts to bring into force the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, two agreements that U.S. administrations have argued should apply to Israel in the past. They would ban nuclear tests and the production of material for weapons.
A Senate staffer familiar with the May reaffirmation, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said, "What this means is that the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel’s nuclear program. However, it calls into question virtually every part of the president’s nonproliferation agenda.The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card."
Piece says that this hypocrisy began after Kennedy/Johnson had failed to stop the nuclear program in Israel and Kissinger said, Well let’s just not let it become an "international fact." 35 years later, who’s in the dark? (h/t Helena Cobban, who’s for the Olympics in Brazil. Agreed.)