WASHINGTON - July 8 - Green Party leaders are calling on the Bush Administration to put pressure on Israel to open up its nuclear weapons program to international scrutiny.
Mohamed El Baradei, head of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, has demanded that Israel cooperate with the effort to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons, but the Israeli government has refused to acknowledge that it possesses such arms.
"Israel may already have as many nuclear warheads as Great Britain," said Julia Willebrand, co-chair of the International Committee of the Green Party of the United States. "Israel is not formally listed among the countries which have acquired WMDs. Western governments have allowed Israel to maintain its 'nuclear ambiguity' stance too long, provoking suspicions that the U.S. might have shared nuclear technology with Israel."
Recent news reports state that Israeli armed forces possess missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads up to 1,500 kilometers away, and have much longer range missiles in development. Israel has acquired more than 200 nuclear-capable aircraft and three nuclear-capable submarines.
Israel's denial is contradicted by photographic evidence published in 1986 by Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona nuclear power plant. After his photographs appeared in The London Times, Vanunu was kidnapped by Israeli agents and imprisoned for 18 years, 12 in solitary.
"President Bush launched the invasion of Iraq last year in order to make the Middle East safe from a despot, based on apparently fraudulent claims that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs," said Jody Grage Haug, national co-chairof the Green Party. "At the same time, the U.S. has tolerated Israel's expanding WMD program while the Sharon government visits daily violence, humiliation, economic deprivation, and denial of rights on the Palestinian people."
The Green Party, noting that the U.S. holds the power to pressure Israel into compliance with international laws and directives, has supported efforts by Israeli and Palestinian organizations and individuals working for a nonviolent resolution to the crisis that ensures full human, economic, and political rights for Palestinians and security for everyone in the region.
"The Third Temple's Holy Of Holies: Israel's Nuclear Weapons" Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army, The Counterproliferation Papers Series, September 1999 http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cpc-pubs/farr.htm
"The Guardian profile: Mordechai Vanunu" By Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, April 16, 2004 http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1193015,00.html