JAMES PETRAS : Israeli’s Nuclear Policy: From South Africa to Iran

On May 24, 2010, the Guardian (U.K.) published a highly confidential document released by the South African government. The 1975 document reveals a secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, Israel’s Foreign Minister at the time (and today Israel’s President) and South Africa’s Defense Minister P. W. Botha. Israel offered to sell the apartheid regime, weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and conventional weaponry to destroy and defeat the million person African resistance movement. The Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization, immediately set in motion the Lying Machine claiming the official minutes of the Israeli nuclear offer and a far reaching agreement on military ties between two apartheid regimes were merely a “conversation” (sic) and that Israel did not “make an offer”.1 Then without blinking Israel’s apologists went on to contradict themselves by speculating that a nuclear agreement would not have had the approval of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Daily Alert May 25, 2010). The documents were discovered by a US academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in South African archives and are published in his book, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Alliance with Apartheid South Africa. Apparently the Israeli’s regime thought the documents were more than a “conversation” because they pressured the post-apartheid South African government not to release them.2

The Israeli nuclear offer and the South African request took place at a time of rising popular struggles throughout South Africa, from Sharpeville to Soweto, including armed resistance and the beginning of international boycotts. South Africa expanded its military offensive invading Angola where they were eventually defeated by a joint Cuban-Angolan army. As a result it was facing problems buying the kinds of deadly weapons of mass destruction which would not only decapitate the leadership of the South African freedom movement but destroy its grass roots support and national allies. Israel was prepared to serve as a willing accomplice to a Nuclear Solution.

The Genocidal Implications of Israel’s Nuclear Offer

Most liberal commentators and critics of Israel’s offer to supply apartheid South Africa with nuclear warheads merely focused on Israel’s “irresponsible behavior” in violating the non-proliferation treaty.3 For others the issue was merely an “embarrassment” for the Jewish state, given a forthcoming meeting (June 2010) on non-proliferation.4 Few if any raised the great moral and political question of the profound human consequences of complicity in a genocidal nuclear assault on millions of Africans. The question is Israel’s moral responsibility, if South Africa had followed up the Jewish State’s offer, bought the nuclear warheads and sent the missiles raining down on millions of Africans demanding freedom. One might ask if complicity in a potential genocidal act is subject to a war crimes tribunal, in the same way that the German industrial manufacturers of poison gas for concentration camp prisoners were put on trial at Nuremberg for complicity in the war crimes of the Nazi State.?5

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