by Roy Tov
Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
Israel attempts to postpone conference
On the first week of April 2012, Jaakko Laajava, Finland’s Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs informally visited Jerusalem to discuss Israel’s participation in the upcoming Nonproliferation Treaty Conference, to be held this December in Helsinki. He met with an Israeli team headed by Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General Jeremy Issacharoff, and that included representatives from Israel’s National Security Council and the Atomic Energy Commission. In January, Laajava met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, and dealt with the same issue. The impending conference is likely to pursue the unfinished business of its 2010 predecessor; namely attempts by Arab states and Iran to restrain Israel’s aggressive nuclear capability. Israel is attempting to cancel the conference, or at least to postpone it as much as possible. The USA is mumbling pleasantries towards all. Hiroshima shadows still cast a dark spot on our future.
2010 was a key year in the history of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The New START treaty between the USA and the Russian Federation was signed on April 8, in Prague. Then, Iran hosted its own conference, the International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, on April 17–18. The following month, the 2010 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (also referred to as the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit) was held at United Nations headquarters in New York. It was the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Don’t bother to check the list; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t there despite Israel being a close ally of the USA. Netanyahu zigzagged; he had announced to be the first Israeli leader to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, however, days before it, he withdrawn from it claiming that Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel’s atomic arsenal at the meeting.
I’m not an expert on diplomatic courtesy, but maybe this is the moment to remind Netanyahu that a few days before he cancelled his trip, the Turkish ambassador to Jerusalem Ahmet Oguz Celikkol was recalled to Ankara after a humiliating public debacle with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and another Israeli diplomat at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Celikkol was seated on a low stool, with no food and only an Israeli flag on the table. Dear Bibi, spending some money on a few croissants would have been a wiser path for you. On a second thought, try baklavas. A Turkish coffee would be welcomed.
Netanyahu’s expectations were correct, Egypt proposed that the 2010 Nonproliferation Treaty Conference back a plan calling for the start of negotiations in 2011 on a Mideast free of nuclear arms. Here, Obama zigzagged, supporting Israel. President Obama successfully delayed the convening of the Middle East conference until the end of 2012, after the upcoming presidential elections. Yet, this is not good enough for Israel.
President Obama is not popular in Israel. One of the reasons is its criticism of Israel’s aggressive nuclear policies. On April 7, 2010, the Hebrew version of Maariv claimed that workers of the Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona cannot get visas to the US anymore. Moreover, the article claimed that the US doesn’t sell Dimona any type of equipment anymore, including machinery that is regularly supplied to universities all over the world. The same article mentioned France has become the main supplier of Dimona, in a rehearsal of the wild sixties. The Hebrew media is flooded with articles vilifying President Obama. Sometimes openly so, as in the case of a racist caricature I reported in the past; in other occasions—see Are America’s leaders testing God?—this is done in a subtler fashion. Reality is clear: the Israeli Administration is not pleased with the American one. This is true also this year, after the American administration made clear it support the staging of the conference, against Israel’s will.
In a year when the main talk on Israel is an imminent aggressive attack on Iran, the Nuclear Security Summit is not a comfortable option for the Zionist regime. Especially considering that the only reliable option open for Israel to attack Iran is a nuclear one (see Astonishing Israeli Attack on Iran). The Israeli efforts to defer the conference were opened last week in the talks with the representative of the Finnish government, and are likely to intensify in the coming months. Israel claims that the conference should not be held until regimes in the region, particularly in Egypt and Syria, stabilize. This is highly ironic, considering Israel had a key role in destabilizing Syria (see Slicing Syria).
Israel chances to cancel the summit are slim. The decision to proceed with the conference was incorporated in an agreement document issued by the 2010 conference. The U.S. State Department expressed “deep regret” about it, and Israel protested its inclusion; but the document was not repealed. In April 2012, Israel is still repeating its mantra, claiming that it would not sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons until a comprehensive Arab-Israel peace deal is in place. Together with Pakistan, India and North Korea, Israel is a nuclear country which is not a signatory of this treaty.
Will Israel attempt to stage a diversion? U.S. presidential elections will take place in November. Until then, Israel will not attack (see USA Thwarts Israeli Attack on Iran). The conference is scheduled for December. Will Israel attack Iran in between?