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America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes


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From the article: American officials began hiding the truth about Israeli nuclear weapons after Israeli leaders hid the truth from them. In the early 1960s, writes Avner Cohen in his book “The Worst Kept Secret,” Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion repeatedly told President John F. Kennedy that the reactor Israel was building in the desert town of Dimona “was for peaceful purposes only.” When the United States sent inspectors to the site, the Israelis concocted an elaborate ruse, which included building fake walls to conceal the elevators that led to an underground reprocessing plant. By decade’s end, the die was cast. The C.I.A. concluded that Israel already possessed nuclear warheads.

So Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir hatched a deal. Neither Israel nor the United States would acknowledge that Israel had nuclear weapons, and Washington would not pressure Israel to submit them to international oversight. For 50 years now, American presidents have abided by the bargain. Scholars believe that when Israel tested a nuclear weapon in the Indian Ocean in 1979, the Carter administration covered it up. In 2009, when a journalist asked Barack Obama if he knew of “any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?” Mr. Obama responded, “I don’t want to speculate.”

America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes

Aug. 11, 2021, 1:00 a.m. ET

The New York Times

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