A newly released British document confirms that Israel has possessed nuclear weapons for more than three decades.
Secret files released by Britain’s National Archives said on Wednesday that British officials feared Tel Aviv would use its nuclear weapons in case of another war with Arab countries in the region.
Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev Desert
Israel, which is considered as the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, has never confirmed or denied that it has produced nuclear warheads. It has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and also adamantly rejected international inspection of its nuclear facilities.
Former US President Jimmy Carter acknowledged for the first time in May 2008 that Tel Aviv has 150 nuclear warheads in its arsenals.
In 1986, Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, leaked the news that Israel had between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons.
Vanunu was a former worker at the country’s Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev desert.
In May 2010, the UK’s Guardian newspaper said secret South African documents reveal that in 1975, Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the then-apartheid regime in South Africa.
According to documents obtained by the newspaper, a secret meeting between the then-Israeli defense minister, Shimon Peres, and his South African counterpart, P.W. Botha, ended with an offer for the sale of warheads “in three sizes.”
The Guardian claimed that those “sizes” referred to conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.
Israel has initiated several wars in the region in its 60-year-old history of occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).