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

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

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line IT Support / Senior Engineer / Support Analyst

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Recognised as one of the fastes...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager - Refrigeration

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the endless and beginningless election campaign goes up and down

John Rentoul
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

What the advertising world can learn from Zoella's gang

Danny Rogers
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor