Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Israel and weapons of mass destruction
Israel is very widely believed to possess a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to deliver them. There is also speculation that it may have chemical and biological weapons programs. Israel acceded to the Geneva Protocol on February 20, 1969.
The Israeli government refuses to officially confirm or deny that it has a nuclear weapon program, and it has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Israel is the only Middle Eastern country not to sign or ratify (since Oman acceded on January 23, 1997) the NPT. In 1998, however, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres admitted publicly that Israel "built a nuclear option, not in order to have a Hiroshima but an Oslo." . The "nuclear option" may refer to a nuclear weapon or to the nuclear reactor in Dimona, which Israel claims is used for scientific research. ("Hiroshima" refers to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, while "Oslo" refers to the Oslo Peace Accords).
The first public revelation of Israel's nuclear capability came in the London-based Sunday Times on October 5, 1986, which printed information provided by Mordechai Vanunu, formerly employed at the Negev Nuclear Research Center , a facility located in the Negev desert south of Dimona. For publication of state secrets, the Mossad tricked Vanunu into leaving London and going to Rome, where they abducted him. When he was returned to Israel, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for treason and espionage.
Although there had been much speculation prior to Vanunu's revelations that the Dimona site was creating nuclear weapons, Vanunu's information indicated that Israel had also built thermonuclear weapons.
According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative , based on Vanunu's information, Israel has approximately 100–200 nuclear explosive devices and a Jericho missile delivery system. A United States Defense Intelligence Agency report (leaked and published in the book "Rumsfeld's War" by journalist Richard Scarborough in 2004) puts the number of weapons at 82. The difference might lie in the amount of material Israel has on store versus assembled weapons.
No known nuclear weapons test has been conducted within Israel, although the boosted weapons shown in Vanunu's photographs may well have required testing. It is also possible that the Israelis received results from French nuclear testing in the 1960s. In June 1976, the West Germany Army Magazine, Wehrtechnik, claimed that a 1963 underground test took place in the Negev, and other reports indicate that some type of non-nuclear test, perhaps a zero yield or implosion test, may have occurred on 2 November 1966. In September 1979, a Vela satellite may have detected a 3 kiloton oceanic nuclear explosion near to South Africa, accompanied by underwater acoustic and ionospheric effects which may have been a joint nuclear test between Israel and South Africa. See Vela Incident for more.
Israel has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). There are speculations that a chemical weapons program might be located at the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona . Professor Marcus Klingberg, deputy director of the institute, was sentenced in 1983 to 18 years in prison for being a Soviet spy, a matter so sensitive that it was kept secret for a decade.
Israel is not a signatory to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). There are speculations that a biological weapons program may be located at the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona .
- Strategic Doctrine - Israel
- Better World Links on Israel's Atomic Weapons
- Nuclear Threat Initiative on Israel
- Marcus Klingberg, last KGB Spy to be Released in Israel
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details