Israel's stance over Iran's nuclear programme is becoming difficult to sustain

The Jewish state’s nuclear deterrent is something it wants everyone to know about, but won’t acknowledge

Share
Related Topics

Back in January, days before Israel’s general election, politicians from four of the country’s largest parties took part in a debate in which they argued about the economy, a peace deal (or otherwise) with the Palestinians and the consequences of the Arab uprising. There were as many firmly expressed views as there were issues discussed.

Later the four took questions from the audience, and despite the earlier disagreements, there was one topic on which you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between them: Israel’s nuclear weapons.

The Jewish state’s nuclear deterrent is something it wants everyone to know about, but won’t acknowledge. Journalists’ questions are met with a knowing smile and a shake of the head – “we won’t comment on that, old boy, and you know it”. Formally, the position is one of “nuclear opacity”.

But the stance is rapidly becoming difficult to sustain. Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN’s General Assembly 12 months ago waving around a picture of a cartoon bomb, warning that Iran was close to developing nuclear weapons of its own. He emerged as the winner of the January election, telling a rally in Tel Aviv on election night that the focus of his premiership was on preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.

This is a worthy stance, but Israel is left looking like it wants to have its cake and eat it. Each time one meets an Israeli official, or one of the many groups that support Israel’s agenda, the same arguments are wheeled out. President Hassan Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and the leadership in Tehran cannot be trusted; Iran is doing everything short of producing  a bomb so that it can make a dash  to the finish line before the UN’s nuclear inspectors have time to stop it; and the world ought to act before it’s too late.

But now Israel has lost the initiative. Iran got what it wanted from the UN General Assembly last week and after the debacle that was the US’s position on attacking Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, Washington is unlikely to want to get itself into another diplomatic black hole over Iran.

What better way for Israel to wrestle back that initiative than to admit what everyone already knows – that it has its own nuclear weapons stockpile? Maybe then the rest of the world will take more seriously its very real concerns over Iran.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The traditional Boxing Day hunt in Lacock  

For foxes' sake: Don't let the bloody tradition of the Boxing Day hunt return

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all