UN demands Israel give up its nuclear arsenal

The vote was one of over a dozen that are aimed specifically against Israel each year.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The UN’s General Assembly voted Wednesday 149-6 that Israel should accede to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and get rid of the nuclear weapons cache that the world assumes Israel has.

The only five nations who voted with Israel against the resolution were the United States, Canada, Liberia, Micronesia and Palau. While 26 countries abstained, including several from the European Union and India, Ukraine was notable for absenting itself from the plenum at the time.

Although on an official level Jerusalem had stayed silent, Kyiv had been severely criticized in Israel last month after Ukraine stood against the Jewish state in an October 31 vote on the same subject in the UN’s Disarmament and International Security Committee. The sense of ordinary Israelis was that since Ukraine has been demanding – and receiving – aid from Israel in its fight against the Russian invasion, it should not vote against Israel at the UN on resolutions that focus solely on criticizing its friend.

Just as in the preceding Committee vote, the resolution called on Israel to sign the NPT immediately and “not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce their possession and to place all its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope IAEA safeguards.”

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While foreign estimates have put Israel’s stockpile between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads, the country has always maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity on its nuclear status for strategic reasons. Its administrations throughout the years have said that Israel would never be the first to introduce weapons of mass destruction in the region.

There has been a slew of votes on the nuclear issue in general, such as supporting the nuclear test-ban treaty, decrying the slow pace of disarmament negotiations, and others. In many cases, Israel abstained from or voted against these resolutions, which all passed overwhelmingly.

In two of them, which supported “the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction,” Israel was the only country that stood in official opposition. The United States and Singapore abstained from one of them, and India, Iran, Myanmar and Syria abstained from the other.

The anti-Israel resolution joined 14 others that are brought up annually in the General Assembly and pass by huge margins. These include castigating Israel’s “occupation” of the disputed territories (Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem) and the settlement enterprise, while supporting Palestinian rights to these areas as well as supplying the Palestinians with aid.