Obama: Israel Should Sign NPT

Summit Managed to Avoid Issue Until Closing Press Conference

by Jason Ditz, April 13, 2010

President Barack Obama managed to avoid Israel’s nuclear program nearly entirely for the high profile nuclear summit, but was unable to successfully dodge a question at the closing press conference about Israel’s non-membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Though the bulk of Obama’s talks dealt with securing the weapons grade nuclear stockpiles of such rogue nations as Canada and Chile, when pressed he eventually insisted that he wanted every nation, including Israel to sign the NPT. He also insisted that this position was nothing new.

Yet in September the Obama Administration vigorously opposed a vote by IAEA member states calling on Israel to join the NPT, calling it unfair to single out Israel, the only nation in the Middle East that is not a signatory.

When the September IAEA vote happened, Israel reacted with official outrage. When in May a US official made comments suggesting that the Obama Administration wanted every nation to join the NPT the Israeli government had a veritable conniption fit, with several officials coming out to publicly condemn the NPT on principle and vow that Israel would never sign it. The Israeli Foreign Ministry even demanded a US “clarification” of the comment.

So far Israel’s government has yet to respond to Obama’s latest call, but the predictable reaction will be negative, as the government is loathe to even admit it has nuclear weapons, let alone to subject them to international oversight.

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