Anti-israel Vote on Nuclear Arms Wins Less U.N. Support Than in Past

A softening in the traditional anti-Israel vote in the U.N. General Assembly was registered in the adoption Wednesday evening of a resolution voicing “alarm” over “Israeli production and development of nuclear weapons.”

Adoption of the resolution, which also expresses concern over “cooperation between Israel and South Africa in the area of nuclear armament,” has become an annual ritual, but the number of countries supporting it dropped to 64, from 76 last year.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gad Yaacobi, termed the reduction in support “a significant improvement” and attributed it to policies adopted by the new Labor government in Israel.

“It is a result of a new political situation that has been created in the wake of the peace talks, and in the change in relations between the United Nations and Israel,” he said.

The United States, Israel and Romania voted against the resolution. Twelve countries that supported the resolution last year abstained this time.

Israel has never publicly acknowledged having a nuclear weapons capability, though it is known to conduct nuclear research at a facility in the Negev town of Dimona.

The government’s official position is that the Jewish state will not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

The General Assembly was expected to vote Friday on resolutions concerning the Middle East and the Palestinian situation. Pro-Israel forces were hoping a key passage containing a strong censure of the Jewish state would be dropped from this year’s measures.

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