The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to open its nuclear program for inspection “without further delay.”
Israel’s advanced nuclear arsenal has long been understood to exist, although it hasn’t been officially admitted by the Israeli government. Many have argued Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is what drives the accelerated Iranian program and causes other regional instability.
The resolution was approved on Monday by a vote of 174-6 with 6 abstentions and calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty immediately and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It also offered support for a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled by the US and Israel, in order to protect Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly.
If Israel agreed to dismantling its vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons and to a deal enforcing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East – a deal Iran and Israel’s Arab neighbors have repeatedly proposed – the supposed threats Israel faces in the region would virtually disappear.
But Israel refuses to give up its nuclear monopoly, insistent on maintaining its excuse to build up its military and distract from the Palestinian issue.
As former CIA Middle East analyst Paul Pillar has written, “the Iran issue” provides a “distraction” from international “attention to the Palestinians’ lack of popular sovereignty.”