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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nuke-free Middle East requires change in Arab attitudes

The chairman of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission Shaul Chorev told an IAEA meeting in Vienna on Tuesday that there can be no nuclear-free Middle East until there is an attitude change by the Arab countries and they accept Israel's 'right to exist.'
"It is our vision and policy to establish the Middle East as a mutually verifiable zone free if weapons of mass destruction and their delivery," Chorev told delegates.

While Israel firmly supports control of nuclear arms, said Chorev, such a move cannot be imposed on the Middle East from the outside.

"It is the firm view and the policy of Israel, that the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is based on the absolute duty of each state not to abuse this right," said Chorev.

"As the international community has accepted and recognized in other regions, the establishment of such a zone can only emanate from within the region," he said.

Chorev stressed that in order for the Middle East to function as a nuclear-free zone, the Arab states in the region needed to alter that approach to Israel.

"Progress toward realizing this vision cannot be made without a fundamental change in regional circumstances, including a significant transformation in the attitude of states in the region toward Israel," he said.

"The constant efforts by member states in the region to single out the State of Israel in blatantly anti-Israel resolutions in this General Conference is a clear reflection of such hostile attitude.

He also emphasized that many states that are party to the international non-proliferation treaty have violated their commitments. "The most widely recognized cases of non-compliance with legally binding non-proliferation obligations have occurred in the Middle East, by states that are parties to the NPT.

"Grave and overt violations by Iran and Syria had been detected and then formally reported by the IAEA," he added. "The Agency's investigations in these two countries have been hampered by a continued lack of cooperation, denial of access and efforts to conceal and mislead the inspectors."

Chorev promised that Israel was following these developments with "profound concern" and would "assist the international community in its efforts to prevent dangerous proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the abuse of the right to peaceful nuclear energy."

"The activities of these countries that breach their international commitments and obligations must be met with concrete and immediate international measures," he said. "Violations cannot go unpunished."
And the Arab response? Except for Egypt and Jordan, they all walked out when Chorev got up to speak.

Hope and change same!


At 9:25 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

There's not going to be any move towards nuclear disarmament in the Middle East in our lifetime. With Iran racing ahead to get a nuclear bomb, the prospects of that happening range from slim to none.


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