IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says that Israel’s status as the Middle East’s only nuclear power and its only non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a major obstacle to efforts for global nuclear disarmament.
“What compounds the problem is that the nuclear non-proliferation regime has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of Arab public opinion because of the perceived double-standards concerning Israel, the only state in the region outside the NPT and known to possess nuclear weapons.” Though Israel has never formally admitted to its arsenal, it is widely accepted that it has a considerable number of nuclear weapons.
There is considerable resentment in the Muslim world toward the lack of consequences for Israel’s arsenal, when nations that are signatories to the treaty such as Iran and Syria are harangued over prospective civilian nuclear programs that have no known links to any military purpose. ElBaradei lamented the “cynical attitudes” toward the United Nations, though he expressed encouragement over Obama’s campaign promise to support disarmament.
However, he added that “Above all, we need to halt the glaring breach of core principles of international law such as limitations on the unilateral use of force, proportionality in self-defense and the protection of civilians during hostilities in order to avoid a repeat of the civilian carnage in Iraq and, most recently, in Gaza.”