Monday, December 11, 2006

We have the Bomb

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, acknowledged that Israel has nuclear weapons in an interview on German television.

He was discussing Iran's nuclear programme and drew comparisons between Iran and America, France, Israel and Russia.

Israel has long declined to confirm or deny having nuclear weapons as part of a "strategic ambiguity" policy.

However, Israel is widely believed to be the sole nuclear power in the Middle East.
Olmert said in the interview that was shown on Israeli television: "The most that we tried to get for ourselves is to be able to ethnically cleans Palestinians and then live in peace on their land and in their houses.
We never threatened any nation with annihilation even if Moses did tell us to wipe the tribes of Lebanon off the map after we worked them to death. "Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map by throwing stones at us."
Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel and Russia have?" The subject of Israel's nuclear capability was raised last week by Robert Gates, the incoming US defence secretary, who told a Senate confirmation hearing that Israel had atomic weapons. Gates on Tuesday said that Iran might want an atomic bomb because it is "surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us [the US] in the Persian Gulf". The remark led Israeli news bulletins with Israeli state-run radio suggesting that Gates may have breached a US "don't ask, don't tell" policy that dates back to the late 1960s.


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