Trump reportedly signed a secret letter declining to pressure Israel to sign an international nuclear-nonproliferation treaty.
By: World Israel News Staff
US President Donald Trump was the fourth president in a row to sign a secret letter assuring Israel that the US would do nothing to hurt Israel’s deterrence capabilities, including its purported nuclear weapons capability, according to a report published Tuesday by The New Yorker magazine.
Israel interpreted the letters as a US commitment not to pressure Israel regarding its nuclear arsenal, according to the report, while US officials saw the letters as an acceptance of the Israeli argument that they’re not going to disarm under the current conditions in the Middle East.
The report states that when Trump entered office, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer went to the White House to arrange for Trump to sign the letter, stressing the need for secrecy and a limit on who could take part in the discussion. Dermer reportedly spoke to then-US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Israel has reportedly had nuclear weapons capabilities since the eve of the 1967 Six Day War.
Though agreements between Israel and the US regarding Israel’s purported nuclear weapons capabilities date back to US President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir, formalizing policy on the matter began in 1998 during Benjamin Netanyahu’s first stint as prime minister.
The first letter was drafted under Clinton in exchange for Israeli participation in the 1998 Wye River negotiations with the Palestinians as a continuation of the Oslo Accords.
“President Bill Clinton assured the Jewish state that no future American arms-control initiative would ‘detract’ from Israel’s ‘deterrent’ capabilities, an oblique but clear reference to its nuclear arsenal,” the report claims.
Obama, too, signed the letter, and reportedly referenced the secret letter in a 2010 speech discussing Israeli security requirements.
“And I reiterated to the prime minister that there is no change in U.S. policy when it comes to these issues. We strongly believe that, given its size, its history, the region that it’s in, and the threats that are levelled against . . . it, that Israel has unique security requirements,” Obama said after meeting with Netanyahu on July 6, 2010.
“It’s got to be able to respond to threats or any combination of threats in the region. And that’s why we remain unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security. And the United States will never ask Israel to take any steps that would undermine their security interests,” he added.