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

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
The Israeli ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, has been dubbed ‘Bibi’s brain’  

Patrick Cockburn: Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire

Patrick Cockburn
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on