News / Middle East

Israel Warns Arabs Against 'Bashing' at UN Nuclear Meeting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks, in Jerusalem, June 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks, in Jerusalem, June 2013.
Arab diplomats signaled on Tuesday they would seek to step up pressure on Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal, but the Jewish state said any attempt to “bash” it would be counterproductive.

Arab countries, angry at the lack of movement in efforts to move toward a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, have served notice they plan to target Israel for criticism at the U.N. atomic agency's annual member state gathering in September.

“We need to raise our frustration, we need to raise our concern about this issue,” said one Arab envoy in Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based, said.

Israel's ambassador to the IAEA, Ehud Azoulay, told Reuters that Arab states “are taking a counterproductive route by raising this issue... and trying to bash Israel”.

Arab states give notice

In a letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, posted on the U.N. agency's web site, 18 Arab member states asked for “Israeli nuclear capabilities” to be included as an agenda item of the Sept. 16-20 gathering in the Austrian capital.

The IAEA meeting “must take appropriate measures to ensure that Israel places all its nuclear installations under agency safeguards and accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” the letter, dated in June, said.

Arab countries are considering putting forward a non-binding but symbolically important resolution on the issue after refraining from doing so at the previous two annual gatherings of the IAEA's 159 member countries, Arab diplomats said.

Such a move would likely draw a rebuke from the United States and its Western allies, which argue that singling out Israel for blame could undermine broader steps aimed at banning weapons of mass destruction in the volatile region.

Israel is widely believed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, drawing Arab and Iranian condemnation. It is the only regional country outside the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to prevent the spread of atomic arms.

Israel and the United States regard Iran as the world's main proliferation threat, accusing Tehran of covertly seeking a nuclear arms capability, something the Islamic state denies.

Forging Mideast peace

An Egyptian plan for an international meeting to lay the groundwork for creating a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction was agreed at an NPT review conference in 2010.

But the United States said late last year that the conference would not occur as planned in December 2012 and did not make clear when, or whether, it would take place. The United States, Britain and Russia are co-sponsors of the meeting.

“We are disappointed but we are still eager to convene the conference,” the Arab envoy said.

U.S. and Israeli officials have said a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East could not be a reality until there was broad Arab-Israeli peace, and Iran curbed its nuclear program.

Israel's Azoulay said “the atmosphere in the Middle East” was not conducive to such a conference now. “You see what is happening in Syria, in Libya, in Iran, now in Egypt as well,” he said, alluding to instability and bloodshed around the region.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 10, 2013 8:24 AM
Azoulay's fear is jointly shared here. You need to be ready at all times if you live in the midst of barbaric men-slayers that have little or no conscience. While Israel is not any better with the Arabs' relationships, it is important to have stability and cool-headedness to be sure of its own security. Iran must drop the idea of nuclear capability foremost, and the Arabs must stop thinking Israel should be wiped out of world map. Then, the Arabs should agree either to take back their citizens who make up the Palestinians in Gaza, or agree to resettle or relocate them into the Palestinian occupied area in the West Bank. For it is wrong to have a deadly enemy like the Palestine people, who were created for the destruction of Israel, striding Israel on two borders. That's too dangerous. Israel is a peaceful people and will be open with its neighbors when they too are ready to show transparency.

by: Igor from: Russia
July 10, 2013 1:29 AM
Do you know why Israel can deny its own obligations of a nuclear weapon owner whereas it is always trying to prevent other arabs nations from possessing such weapon? Because it is given a green light from the US and its allies. So the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is no longer needed in such an unfair play.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs