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Ask an awkward question, get a silly answer...Stuart Littlewood Salem-News.com
“Israel is a non-nuclear weapons state”
(LONDON) - Tired of listening to Agent Cameron and his foreign secretary William Hague trying to pick a fight with Iran and ratcheting up sanctions aimed at ruining that country’s economy and hurting innocent Iranian women and children, I asked my MP, Henry Bellingham, to table the following written Parliamentary Question (PQ)...
Mr Bellingham said he would have to 'tweak' the question, presumably to fit the approved format. In the process the emphasis on Israel's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction was mysteriously lost. This was the result...
Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage Israel to (a) sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and (b) open its nuclear programme to international inspection. 
Alistair Burt: The British Government supports fully the universalisation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We have called on Israel and other non-signatories to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states. We have also called on them to agree a full scope Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In 2009 the IAEA concluded that nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards were applied in Israel remained in use for peaceful activities. The UK accepts these conclusions. We have a regular dialogue with the Israeli Government on civil nuclear and counter proliferation issues. [my italics]
What does Mr Burt, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, mean by including Israel among the "non-nuclear weapons states"? Is he seriously telling Parliament and the world that Israel has no nukes?
He sidesteps the taboo subject of Israel's hundreds of nuclear warheads, which have never been subject to international safeguards, while he and his colleagues enjoy their sport of punishing Iran, which is properly signed up to the NPT and has no nuclear weapons.
Burt, being a former officer of the lobby group Conservative Friends of Israel, is a rabid admirer and supporter of that racist entity, as are Hague and Cameron. All three, according to theyworkforyou.com, voted “very strongly” for the Iraq war which, for the majority of the British public, was the acid test of how far they can be trusted in government.
My understanding of the Israeli nukes situation is that in 2009 the IAEA again called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, open its nuclear facilities to inspection and place them under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. And again Israel declined.
The IAEA's report ‘Israeli nuclear capabilities’ http://www.iaea.org/About/
The Agency’s verification of Israel's activities, unlike those of States with a comprehensive safeguards agreement, is limited to the materials, equipment and facilities Israel chooses to specify in its safeguards undertakings. The IAEA concluded in 2009 that the items specified by Israel were for peaceful purposes but made clear that it was unable to list all the nuclear facilities which could be subject of safeguards if a comprehensive agreement were in force.
Quite obviously, in the case of Israel the IAEA's monitoring has been woefully insufficient. On 7 April 2010 the Director General wrote to all IAEA member states, including Israel, about a resolution adopted by the General Conference on 18 September 2009. The letter said the resolution expressed concern about Israeli nuclear capabilities and called on Israel “to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards”. It also urged the IAEA Director General to work with the concerned States towards achieving that end and report on the implementation of this resolution to the Board of Governors and the General Conference.
Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, in his response, called the resolution "politically motivated" and said it attempted to divert attention from the real proliferation challenges of the Middle East, namely non-compliance by Iran and Syria with their NPT obligations. According to him the resolution was incompatible with basic principles and norms of international law. "It is the sovereign right of any state to decide whether it consents to be bound by any particular treaty," he wrote.
Imagine if Iran had said that...
While claiming that Israel values the non-proliferation regime and acknowledges its importance, Liberman said that "attempts to single out Israel... harm the professional standing of the IAEA" and that co-operation with the resolution was "unjustified". He wanted it removed from the IAEA's agenda.
Misleading Parliament is a serious offence. The Foreign Office minister ought to withdraw any suggestion that Israel has no nuclear weapons. I have asked Mr Bellingham to obtain a much fuller reply addressing the weapons issue. He says he will "see what further question can sensibly come out of this and table it in due course".
A second PQ, asking why the British government hasn’t made friends and developed trade with Iran instead of declaring economic war and plotting a shooting war, seems to have gone missing.
It’s all so reminiscent of the unpleasantness in 1953 when Dr Mossadeq refused to do Britain’s bidding. Will we never learn?
13 November 2012
Special thanks to MyCatbirdSeat
Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk
___________________________________Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. Stuart's articles are serious and revealing; they address the pertinent issues regarding Israel and Palestine and sixty years of conflict that have devasted millions of human beings. For further information please visithttp://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk/
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