UN committee demands Israel destroy alleged nuclear arsenal
November 11, 2022
With an overwhelming 152-5 majority, a UN committee devoted to world security called on Israel Friday to renounce its nuclear arsenal and put all its nuclear-related sites under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Disarmament and International Security Committee or First Committee) resolution, submitted annually by Egypt for years, demands that Israel join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even though Jerusalem never acknowledged possession of nuclear weapons.
It is “important” that Israel sign onto the NPT “without delay,” agree “not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons,” and accede to IAEA oversight in order to “realiz[e] the goal of universal adherence to the Treaty in the Middle East,” and “as a step toward enhancing peace and security,” the resolution stated.
Iran, a member of the NPT, has openly said it is enriching uranium to near-weapon’s purity, and according to the IAEA, the Islamic Republic began producing uranium metal last year although it has no civilian purpose. This was not mentioned in the resolution.
Arab countries at peace with Israel besides Egypt sponsored the resolution, including Jordan, Bahrain, the UAE and Morocco, as did the Palestinian ambassador, Riyad Mansour. The “State of Palestine” was granted non-member observer State status in the UN in 2012.
The five countries that voted against it were Israel, the United States, Canada, Micronesia and Palau. There were 24 abstentions, including all member states of the European Union.
Iran was also one of 170 nations that approved a sister-resolution calling for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
When the international body held a debate on the issue earlier this month, When the international body held a debate on the issue earlier this month, Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Michal Maayan, noted a built-in flaw of the NPT – that it was only as pertinent as the level of compliance with its dictates.
The Islamic Republic would be a prime example of the problem, as she noted that “for decades now, Iran has been rapidly advancing its illicit nuclear programs and currently possesses large quantities of highly enriched nuclear material.”
Jerusalem has always maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity on the subject of its nuclear status for strategic reasons, while saying that Israel would never be the first to introduce such weapons in the region.
Foreign estimates have put Israel’s stockpile between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads. It is believed that the IDF can conduct a nuclear strike via its air force, the ground-based launch of intercontinental missiles, and sea-based missile launch from its submarines.
The latter is crucial to the country’s deterrence, as it theoretically gives Israel a second, or retaliatory, strike opportunity if its land mass comes under catastrophic attack.