Experts: Israel can turn its nuclear policy in trump card

Experts: Israel can turn its nuclear policy in trump card

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 8 / Trend, U.Sadikhova /

Israel's "shadow" policy on nuclear program despite international pressure can turn into a trump card to protect Israeli national interests, firstly in the peace process with Arab countries, experts believes.

"It's just a question of time before the Israelis abandon their opaque policy, disclose their unacknowledged nuclear arsenal and join the NPT. The Israelis will try to link it to a Middle Eastern Peace Process," Ahron Bregman, analyst of the Department of War Studies of the King's College London told Trend by e-mail.

The country's "opaque" policy regarding its nuclear program a "strategic advantage", responding to mounting international pressure calling for it to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israeli Haaretz newspaper quoted an anonymous source.  

Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano asked foreign ministers of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 151 member states to share views on how to implement a resolution demanding that Israel accede to the NPT, Associated Press reported.

Amano's April 7 letter comes seven months after IAEA member states at their annual conference narrowly passed a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program.

According to Bregman, Israel's reluctance to be more open about the issue and join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is a problem for those nations wishing to create a nuclear-free zone Middle East, according to resolution of 1995.

"In this case it makes it harder to persuade Islamic and other nations - Iran for instance - not to develop their own nuclear arsenals. That's why the IAEA increases its pressure," Bregman believes.

According to Israeli Haaretz, U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher said that the U.S. has been working for months with Egypt on the issue to free the Middle East from nuclear weapons during several months. Therefore, IAEA's pressures associated with Iran and Egypt's requirements to the international community to exert pressure on Israel to join the NPT, but that wouldn't impact, Shmuel Sandler, Professor of Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies believes.

"It is a question of survival for Israel," he told Trend over phone. Nuclear option is for Israeli security and they must compromise on that. All sides in Israel agree that Israel should not accept the joining the NPT," he said.

NPT members'1995  resolution calls for establishing effectively verifiable zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the  Middle East, however Israel, along with India and Pakistan refuses to participate in the treaty not to bind by obligation to disclose their military programs, RIA Novosti reported.

Ephraim Asculai, leading analyst on nuclear policy of the Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) believes that Israel doesn't take actions because of antagonistic resolution in IAEA, as it doesn't think that it is good for it.

"The international community should have called India Pakistan and Israel to join the NPT, even then it is a question of national interest not of international decision. And joining the treaty is by any rule of the game I think that the country must decide on it sown," Asculai told Trend over phone. "You can not pressure on the treaty you don't want it and the question ambiguity, I don't see any reason for Israel to change its policy," Asculai said.

However, analysts' opinions incline to the fact that perhaps Israel uses the "shadow" policy in the nuclear program to gain advantage in the peace process in the region.

Expert on regional security Bregman believes that Israel using it as a card to gain concessions from the Arab world. 

"The Israelis will say: when there's peace in the Middle East, we'll then turn to tackle the nuclear issue. For now, only Washington could persuade the Israelis to change their nuclear policy," he believes.

However, Israeli media outlets reported that White House cautiously approaches to the issue that Israel's nuclear potential should be considered only after the signing truce with the Arab countries and even is ready to consider Egypt's proposal to include article to start talks to free the Middle East from nuclear weapons in the final agreement of the Conference on the NPT.

Israeli Former Deputy National Security Advisor Charles Freilich considers Israel's position reasonable. "Israel wants to turn the Middle East into a nuclear-free zone, if there is peace with all neighbors, and if all [countries of the region] refuse from weapons of mass destruction, not only nuclear," Harvard University John F. Kennedy Program "International Security" Senior Research Fellow, Freilish told Trend by e-mail.

According to the analyst, Egyptian officials' call for Israel to publish its alleged nuclear potential is actually aimed to a diplomatic advantage.

Five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China fully supported the idea to turn the Middle East into a nuclear-free zone this week at the 2010 Review Conference on implementation of NPT in New York.

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