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The Iran, Israel and U.S. dilemma | Letter

Some Iranian leaders, while supporting terrorism, say they don’t want the bomb.

Some Iranian leaders, while supporting terrorism, say they don’t want the bomb. They want a nuclear-weapons free Middle East. Saying so deflects attention away from Iran’s nuclear activities while slyly acknowledging that the one country in the region that has a nuclear arsenal is Israel.

Is it hypocritical to tolerate Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which Israel doesn’t officially acknowledge, and punish Iran with sanctions because of its suspected efforts to build its own bomb?

Western leaders argue that Israel’s weapons are morally and historically defensible because of its roots in the Holocaust and are strictly defensive.

How did Israel come to have a nuclear arsenal? In 1970, 25 years after the U.S. detonated the first bomb, most of the world, including Israel, agreed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

During the 25 year interim, the Arab-Israeli war occurred, which led Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to write, “What Einstein, Oppenheimer and Teller – three Jews – made for the U.S. could also be done by scientists in Israel for their own people.”

The U.S. opposed the idea. France stepped up to the plate. France and Israel kept it a secret from the U.S.

U.S. intelligence discovered the Israel facility in 1960. Israel insisted it was for peaceful purposes. That was a lie, and for years it did not allow U.S. nuclear inspectors into the facility.

Then the 1967 six day war. Israel got serious and built a bomb in 1968.

Nixon and Golda Meir met in 1969, the outcome of which was that Israel would keep its bomb hidden and Washington would keep quiet. 2018. Israel should publicly announce it has a nuclear arsenal. Doing so would provide legitimacy and allow it to be included among the responsible nuclear states. Would Iran then become more reasonable – maybe even condemn terrorism?

C. F. Baumgartner

Mercer Island

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