Jerusalem (Sep. 27)
The Cabinet today condemned the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decision to suspend technical aid to Israel as “arbitrary and immoral.” The IAEA, meeting in Vienna, voted 51-8 with 27 abstentions yesterday to condemn Israel’s air raid on Iraq’s nuclear reactor last June and to withhold all technical and economic assistance to Israel on nuclear matters.
The resolution, sponsored by Algeria, Saudi Arabia and several Persian Gulf states, and introduced by Yugoslavia, called on next year’s regular session of the IAEA to expel Israel from the organization unless it agrees to place its nuclear program under international supervision. The United States and several Latin American countries voted against the resolution.
The Cabinet’s statement, drafted by Premier Menachem Begin, said: “Enemies of Israel — Iraq, Saudi Arabia and others of their allies — attempted to expel Israel from the IAEA. They failed in their design, due mainly to the attitude and activity of the United States. However … a sufficient majority was mustered to condemn Israel for its operation of national self-defense (the raid on the Iraqi reactor) for its act of rescue of tens of thousands of civilians, including children … the government of Israel condemns this arbitrary and immoral resolution.”
FOREIGN MINISTRY RAPS THE IAEA
An earlier statement by the Foreign Ministry said the Israeli raid on the Iraqi reactor was no excuse for the IAEA action inasmuch as the agency took no measures against Iran after it bombed the Iraqi facility some months before the Israeli raid. Nor did the IAEA take action when India operated nuclear installations or in response to Pakistani efforts to produce nuclear weapons. This proved that the agency acted in an “arbitrary and discriminatory” manner against Israel, the Foreign Ministry said.
The statement noted that Israel has taken several initiatives to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, including one at the United Nations General Assembly last year. “The action in Vienna does nothing to help achieve such an objective,” it said. The Foreign Ministry defended Israel’s raid on the Iraqi installation, saying it was ordered only after clear information was obtained that Iraq was at the point of producing nuclear weapons, the prime target of which was Israel.