The camel inthe room
THE CAMEL IN THE ROOM
I read an article in the Independent on Monday the28th of September 2009 in which Yasmin Alibhai-Brown expressed sentiments and pointed to issues many of us would rather brush under the carpet or avoid to deal with in fear of being labelled as she put it “the enemy within or a rule-breaker of unspoken rules.
Yasmin’s article was called: “Don’t Israel’s nuclear weapons count”, she pointed out the fact the leaders of the rich nations have turned their fire on Iran, Obama was belligerent and instructed Iran to open up all its nuclear facilities for inspection or risk confrontation with the West, yet only last May, Obama met Benjamin Netanyahu who was seeking assurances that there would be no shift from the US position of total and conditional support for Israel’s policies right or wrong, known or clandestine. Yasmin asks the question: What about the camel in the room? The one we all see but can’t point out? What about the only power in the Middle East, also fanatic and aggressive, which has a vast stockpile of weapons, enough to obliterate the region, we need to talk about Israel.
Last spring- Yasmin reminds us – When Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of State and Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator, asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Her reasonable appeal provoked apoplexy in a nation that assumes special, indeed exceptional treatment.
Israel acquired nuclear weapons in the 1960s and managed to hide them from US inspectors, who weren’t really looking to find any weapon. In 1986 Mordechai Vanunu revealed Israel’s secret stockpile and he is still being punished for that. Today Israel doesn’t even care to deny that it has atom and hydrogen bombs as well as biological weapons. Iraq was invaded purely on the pretext and suspicion that it might have had WMDs.
There still is no respite for the hungry and dying in Gaza. If Israel can mete out such treatment and not be called to account, just think what the state feels entitled to do to Iran.
The Israeli human rights activist Gideon Spiro bravely asks that his country be subject to the same rules as Iran and all others in the Middle East: "Rein in Israel, compel it to accept a regime of nuclear disarmament and oblige it to open all nuclear, biological and chemical facilities and missile sites to international inspection." The US has leverage because it maintains and funds Israel. If Obama shies away from this, there can be no moral justification to go for Iran or North Korea or any other rogue state. And the leader whose election and dreams gave hope to millions thereby hastens the end of the world.