Israeli officials breathed a collective sigh of relief today, as a senior Israeli diplomat assured that the nation’s massive nuclear arsenal, well known though never publicly acknowledged, would remain a secret.
Previous speculation was that President Obama might make Israel come clean about its vast arsenal while pursuing an agreement with Iran on its civilian program, but the diplomat claimed assurances that the US would maintain the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy.”
Earlier this month, Assistant US Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller made headlines in Israel for suggesting that the administration wanted Israel, among other parties, to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Joining the treaty would oblige Israel to open its arsenal to public scrutiny, after 40 years as a poorly guarded secret. Israel condemned the comments at the time.
Hardly a year goes by when a top Israeli official does not accidentally admit to the arsenal’s existence, yet the United States has had a policy for the past 40 years of keeping the weapons “from becoming an established international fact.” It seems that policy is going to continue.