The Washington Times reported that US president Barack Obama, has agreed to abide by a 40-year policy of allowing Israel to keep nuclear weapons without opening them to international inspection.
On Saturday, the US newspaper quoted three unnamed sources as saying Obama had confirmed to Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, that he would maintain the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
The decision was reportedly taken last May, when the two met at the White House in Washington DC. (photo, from sanfranciscosentinel.com)
Neither Israel’s embassy in Washington, nor the White House National Security Council would comment on the claim.Under the deal, “the United States passively [accepts] Israel’s nuclear weapons status as long as Israel does not unveil publicly its capability or test a weapon”, Avner Cohen, an Israeli expert and author, was quoted by the newspaper.
Although there is no official accounting of the deal, it was supposedly agreed in 1969 between Richard Nixon, US president at the time, and Golda Meir, the then Israeli prime minister.”It was utterly clear from the context of the speech that he was speaking about North Korea and Iran,” the Israeli leader said.
Last week, Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 media company that he was confident that Obama’s recent remarks on a world free of nuclear weapons would not apply to Israel.
“It was utterly clear from the context of the speech that he was speaking about North Korea and Iran,” the Israeli leader said.
“But I want to remind you that in my first meeting with President Obama in Washington I received from him … an itemised list of the strategic understandings that have existed for many years between Israel and the United States on that issue.
“It was not for naught that I requested, and it was not for naught that I received [that document].”
Some documents hint at an agreement between the two nations, however there is no formal record of the understanding, since nor Israeli nor American governments have ever publicly aknowledged it.
The document that comes closest to articulating US policy on the issue is a July 19, 1969 memo from Henry Kissinger, then national security adviser, that has been declassified by the Nixon library in 2007.
That memo says “while we might ideally like to halt actual Israeli possession, what we really want at a minimum may be just to keep Israeli possession from becoming an established international fact”.