More Western hypocrisy over Israel


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

West bars Arab bid at IAEA to rap Israel atom "threat"
By Mark Heinrich
Fri Sep 22, 6:54 PM ET

Western nations foiled a bid by Arab and Islamic states on Friday to declare 
Israel's reputed nuclear arsenal a threat that must be removed in a politically 
charged vote at a U.N. atomic watchdog meeting.

Canada sponsored a 45-29 "no-action" ballot that prevented International Atomic 
Energy Agency member states from voting on a motion demanding Israel use atomic 
energy only for peaceful purposes and help set up a Middle East nuclear 
arms-free zone.

But the gathering voted 89-2 for a milder resolution on Israel, also initiated 
by Arab states, "affirming the urgent need for all states in the Middle East to 
accept full-scope IAEA safeguards on all their nuclear activities."

Israel neither admits nor denies having atomic weapons but most experts believe 
it has about 200 nuclear warheads.

Feverish negotiations failed to dissuade Arab delegates from pushing the two 
resolutions to a vote due to heightened resentment over Israel's battering of 
south Lebanon in war with Iranian-backed Hizbollah guerrillas.

Diplomats said many Arabs were fuming at the West's perceived slowness to stop 
Israel's heavy bombing of Lebanon that killed mainly civilians before an August 
14 ceasefire imposed by a U.N. Security Council resolution.


"The (Western) blocking manoeuvre is astonishing when innocent blood has not yet
dried in Lebanon," said Syrian delegate Ibrahim Othman. He said Israel's 
exclusive nuclear might in the region caused a destabilising imbalance of power.

The United States, European and other Western allies combined to stifle the 
"threat" resolution. They said it was politically divisive and undermined the 
IAEA's traditional consensual approach.

Israel said a regional nuclear arms-free zone was a noble idea in principle but 
dangerous for it so long as some neighbors continued not to recognize the Jewish
state, with Iran openly calling for its destruction.

"Current realities in the Middle East ... force Israel to entertain no 
illusions. The fundamental goal as in other regions is attaining peace with 
security and stability, not arms control per se," said Israel Michaeli, Israel's
envoy to the IAEA.

U.S. foes such as Venezuela and Cuba and some developing nations like South 
Africa joined the unsuccessful Arab-Islamic effort to put it to a floor vote.

Arab and Islamic anger also simmered over "double standards" seen in Western 
pressure on Iran to shelve its fledgling nuclear energy program while Israel 
faced none despite a batch of U.N. resolutions urging it to scrap its alleged 
atomic warheads.

Nineteen nations, including India and Russia, abstained over the "threat" 
measure, and three in the safeguards vote.

Israel and its closest ally the United States were the sole "no" votes on the 
IAEA safeguards resolution.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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