Perhaps it began
before 1948, when Israel and Palestine were partitioned by the UN into two
separate but equal states. Perhaps the nuclear notion occurred to David
Ben-Gurion and friends in 1945, as they observed two atomic bombs dropped by
the US on the Empire of Japan (mostly civilian populations) to end WW II. In
fact, the nuclear solution brought about an immediate surrender.
In 1948, many
highly-skilled Jewish scientists who came to Palestine during the 1930s and
1940s, in particular Dr. Ernst David Bergman, who became the director of the
Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and founder of his new nation�s efforts to
develop nuclear weapons, joined in support of Ben-Gurion. Those scientists
scoured the Negev Desert for uranium deposits on orders from the Israeli
Ministry of Defense. By 1950, low-grade deposits near Beersheba and Sidon were
found, and their discoverers worked on a low power system of heavy water
After all, Israel,
having created itself as a Jewish island in a sea of angry Arabs, must have
been impressed by the US bombs. Here was a way for David to slay Goliath, a
nuclear slingshot, so powerful that it dared any new Holocaust seekers to
attempt another. That nuclear stone, properly aimed, powered and fired, would
neutralize the would-be attackers in their own Holocaust, if necessary Thus
began the tyranny of the rogue nuclear power while the Goliaths of America and
Russia were nuclear arming themselves to the teeth.
In fact, as US Army
Lt. Col. Warner D. Farr, retired, tells us of this in his must-read 27-page
history of Israel�s
Nuclear Weapons -- The Third Temple�s Holy of Holies, �As payment for
Israeli participation in the Suez Crisis of 1956, France provided nuclear
expertise and constructed a reactor complex for Israel at Dimona (Beersheba)
capable of large-scale plutonium production and reprocessing. The United States
discovered the facility in 1958 and it was a subject of continual discussions
between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers.� A bit of war guilt
for the Nazi and Vichy governments was mixed in as well.
As Farr reports,
�Israel used delay and deception to at first keep the United States at bay, and
later used the nuclear option as a bargaining chip for a consistent American
conventional arms supply. After French disengagement in the early 1960s, Israel
progressed on its own, including through several covert operations, to project
completion. Before the 1967 Six-Day War, they felt their nuclear facility
threatened and reportedly assembled several nuclear devices. By the 1973 Yom
Kippur War, Israel had a number of sophisticated nuclear bombs, deployed them,
and considered using them. The Arabs may have limited their war aims because of
their knowledge of the Israeli Nuclear weapons. . . ." And so it goes.
With one of the
world�s largest nuclear facilities, the actual reactor nested in a deeply set
basement, not available for �nuclear opacity,� Israel was on its way to
becoming one of the world�s larger nuclear powers and skirting observation.
Israel leadership must have breathed a sigh of relief at this Pandora�s Box
gifted them, as if from heaven. Dr. Bergmann in fact continued to work closely
with the newly created Weizman Institute of Science from 1949 on. In fact, they
would contribute to France�s development of nuclear weapons, as well, to help
it catch up with the US, USSR, UK, and Canada.
Of course, by 1958,
the Dimona plant, alternately called a manganese and/or textile plant, was
photographed by US U-2 spy planes and identified as a likely site of a reactor
complex. The French, swarming like ants about the complex, were hard to hide as
well in Beersheba, so much so that Charles DeGaulle, France�s president, wanted
a promise from Israel not to make nuclear weapons, and to announce the
�project� to the world. Before Israel did that, they were preempted by the US
State Department announcing the secret plant. Even the NY Times announced on
December 21, 1960 that Ben-Gurion was building a 24-megawatt reactor �for
peaceful purposes.� Sure it was.
This led to a strain
in relations between the two nations, with inspections beginning in 1962 until 1969.
In fact, the US inspectors only saw the buildings above ground, not the many
levels underground. The above ground areas had simulated control rooms. Access
to the underground plutonium reprocessing plant was kept so secret that
elevator entrances to it were actually bricked over, a highly conscious
deception that would cause a country like Iran today a great deal of flak, to
say the least. In fact, Ben-Gurion continued to talk about peaceful uses of the
plant as it sunk deeper into making nuclear weapons. This as Israel dodged the
50�s and 60�s NATO and US nuclear umbrella.
The French continued
to partner, hand in hand, sharing even nuclear tests and data, the French
reportedly reshipping reprocessed plutonium back to Israel as payback for
1963-1973, project completion
Cutting through this
bizarre web (all of which you should read in Farr�s article), the French
continued work with Israel at Dimona, the sole purpose being to use the
underground processing plant for one use, and one use only, nuclear weapons. In
fact, for accidentally passing into Dimona�s airspace, Israel shot down one of
its own Mirage fighters during the Six-Day War and a Libyan airliner in 1973,
with 104 passengers on board, when it strayed over the Sinai. Extra heavy water
to run the reactor at a higher rate was provided not only by France, but
Norway, while the US provided the uranium for �Operation Plumbat.�
After the '67 war,
France cut off uranium supplies to Israel; supplies had come from former French
colonies, Gabon, the infamous Niger (as in yellowcake), and the Central African
Republic. Small quantities of uranium came from Israel�s Negev phosphate mines,
while it bought quantities from Argentina and South Africa. The West Germans
had a front company for high seas transfer, which delivered 200 tons of
yellowcake, delivered by the smugglers in 560 sealed oil drums labeled
�Plumbat,� which means lead. How clever. The complicity of these nations
remained underground as well, so as not anger the Soviets and Arabs. MOSSAD
info on former Nazi then German officials helped with motivation.
The first extraction
of plutonium, under Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, occurred in 1965. Unfortunately
by that time, the Egyptian Air Force had overflown Dimona and most probably
recognized the presence of a nuclear reactor. Additionally, 50 American HAWK
anti-aircraft missiles half-ringed the plant. Yet Israel consider Egyptian
overflights of May 16, 1967, as possible pre-strike reconnaissance, one source
listing the flights as trip wires that drove Israel to war. Unfortunately, if
one has powerful weapons the impulse is to use or threaten to use them, even if
cause needs to be fabricated. Fortunately, Nasser vetoed an Egyptian military
plan to attack Dimona at the start of any war. Israel put together two nuclear
bombs and 10 days later went to war. The nuclear option was being played out.
And so it went,
through the 60s. Lyndon Johnson was more willing than John Kennedy to look the
other way, even as Israel pressed him for A-4E Skyhawks first and F-4E Phantoms
later, with an agreement not to use them to deliver nuclear weapons. Sure. The
F-4s were delivered on September 5, 1969, with their nuclear capable hardware
intact. So it goes. Israel and the world dig themselves deeper into a nuclear
hole. See the Farr article for complete details. The next section, from
1974-1999, is called Bringing the Bomb up the Basement Stairs, that is into artillery pieces to fire
By 1976, even the CIA
believed that the Israelis were using plutonium from Dimona and had 10 to 20
nuclear weapons available. In 1985, whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu reported the
number of nuclear fission bombs at 200 or more, with boosted devices, neutron
bombs, F-16 deliverable warheads and Jericho warheads. �The Vanunu photos show
a sophistication that inferred to the requirement for testing,� comments Farr.
Indian Ocean tests?
On September 22,
1979, a bright familiar flash in the south Indian Ocean was seen by an American
satellite. It was believed to be a South Africa-Israel joint nuclear test. It
was, as Farr reports, �according to some, the third test of a neutron bomb. The
first two were hidden in clouds to fool the satellite and the third was an
accident -- the weather cleared.� Though experts differ on these tests, other
writers report that scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory believed it to
have been a nuclear explosion. This as a presidential panel decided otherwise.
possible nuclear testing continues until this day. In June 1998, Farr reports,
�a Member of the Knesset accused the government of an underground test near
Eilat on May 28, 1998. Egyptian �nuclear experts� have made similar charges.
The Israeli government hotly denied the claims.�
In addition, the
Israelis have been interested in American nuclear weapons development data,
especially from US intelligence. Farr tells us, �American-born Israeli spy
Jonathan Pollard obtained satellite-imaging data of the Soviet Union, allowing
Israel to target accurately Soviet Cities [after discovering they, Israel, were
on a Soviet target list]. This showed Israel�s intention to use its nuclear
arsenal as a deterrent political lever, or retaliatory capability against the
Soviet Union itself.
�Israel also used
American satellite imagery to plan the 7 June 1981 attack on the Tammuz-1
reactor at Osiraq, Iraq. This daring attack, carried out by eight F-16�s
accompanied by six F-15�s punched a hole in the concrete reactor dome before
the reactor began operation (and just days before an Israeli election) . . . The blasts
shred the reactor and blew out the dome foundations, causing it to collapse on
the rubble. This was the first attack on
a nuclear reactor [Itals mine].� So Israel, US, Russia, France, et
al, where do we go from here?
Perhaps to Gordon
Thomas, reporting at Globe Intel in his article, Mossad and the
Russian Mafia Plutonium Connection, 11/21/03. Here is a sample. You can
read the rest . . .
<>�Scientists at the
European Trans-Uranium Institute at Karlsruhe in Germany, tracking the
movements of all fissionable material from the former Soviet Union's nuclear
arsenal, have raised suspicions that Mossad has purchased some of the material
to allegedly stop it falling
into the hands of
Islamic and other terror groups.
�But there is also
the real possibility that Israel has gone into the nuclear black market to buy
fissionable material to bolster its own huge nuclear arsenal. Israel already
has one of the world's largest arsenals -- more than capable of decimating all
its Arab neighbors. Its 200 nuclear bombs and missiles are stockpiled in the
�The suspicion that
Israel has also started to buy material stolen from the former Soviet Union
surfaced a year ago when a quantity of Uranium-235 was found in the Paris
apartment of three criminals known to broker arms deals with terror groups like
al-Qaeda. . . ."
So, now we have a
Wild East situation, with Israel purchasing nuclear material supposedly to stop
it from falling into the hands of Al-Qaeda. It would seem said material is no
safer in Israel�s hands than in those of the fictional Al-Qaeda, a CIA brand
name for terror, originally created, funded, and armed to fight the Russians in
1979 in Afghanistan. Its name was used again in 2001 to describe the patsies
for 9/11, those 19 Muslim characters whose presence on the four ill-fated
airliners has never been fully validated. This brings us full circle to
Israel�s own participation in 9/11, a story for another day, but a very real
I have not written
this article to condemn Israel on its 60th anniversary as a quasi-legal state,
quasi to question the UN�s legitimacy to create it, and quasi for Israel�s
subsequent actions to ingest and destroy the Palestinians. My aim is to point
out Israel�s own hypocrisy regarding Iran�s possible possession of nuclear
capability not just for peacetime power. Beyond the Cold War, it is Israel that
has historically been edging us into a worldwide nuclear conflagration; and
doing so since 2001 with the hegemonic boobs presently running the USA and
supporting Israel�s misguided efforts with billions of dollars of aid for arms
in the hope that it will keep the Arab world intimidated and give us its oil.
I also understand the
motivation of the Israeli founders in seeking a nuclear option as a deterrent
to another Holocaust. But they have created now what Seymour Hirsch noted as
�The Samson Option,� which is to bring down the whole world on our heads to
prevent what seems a self-fulfilling prophecy of Holocaust.
As a rogue nation,
under its own impetus, Israel should invoke its Talmudic and biblical
conscience, take a breath, and rethink where they are, who they are, what they
are doing, and to whom. The survival of Israel�s Zionist State of Mind should
not be contingent on the potential destruction of the world. That is as simply,
as compassionately, as reasonably as I can state it. After my voice, will come
voices far more strident and ugly, as you can imagine.
Trust me. Put aside
your arms and put aside your bunker mentality to talk peacefully.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York.
Reach him at email@example.com.