What if Israel was held to same nuclear scrutiny as Iran

First, we went after nonexistent nuclear weapons in Iraq, and now we are consumed with the possibility that Iran might develop nuclear weapons sometime in the future.

What nobody wants to talk about is the fact that Israel has had a secret nuclear weapons program for more than 30 years that has produced well over 200 nuclear bombs.

Ever since 1986, when Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician, confirmed in the London Sunday Times the existence of Israel's nuclear weapons program with his photographs of the secret underground bomb facility, the world has known that Israel has been making nuclear bombs but has pretended that they do not exist.

Here are notes from my interview with Vanunu in Jerusalem in 2005:

"I worked from 1976 to 1985 at the Israeli secret underground nuclear weapons production facility at the Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev desert. During my time there, I was involved in processing plutonium for 10 nuclear bombs per year. I realized that my country had already processed enough plutonium for 200 nuclear weapons. I became really afraid when we started processing lithium 6, which is only used for the hydrogen bomb.

"I felt that I had to prevent a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East, so I took 60 pictures of the underground nuclear weapons processing plant. I resigned my post and left Israel in 1986. I first went to Australia and then made a connection with the Times in London. A few months later, I was kidnapped by the Israelis in Rome and sent secretly by ship to Israel, where I was subjected to a closed military trial without counsel. I was sentenced to 18 years in prison. I spent 12 years in solitary confinement. Now I am trapped inside Israel.” (Note: Vanunu was released from prison in April 2004 but was prohibited from leaving Israel.)

The fact of the matter is that Israel is using nuclear blackmail against the U.S. Essentially, Israel is saying that if we don't agree to use our nuclear weapons against Iran, then they will use theirs.

The only way to secure a nuclear-free Middle East is to have every nation in the region play by the same book of rules, and this must include Israel.

[Excerpt of an article by Joe Parko, The Tennessean]

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