The British government hinted Israel may have good reason to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arms.
On Thursday, Britain’s Guardian newspaper published a leaked Foreign Office document showing that, before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there was a debate among diplomats as to whether Israel, like Saddam Hussein, had unlawfully pursued weapons of mass destruction.
That discussion was quashed, raising charges among the British government’s critics that it was guilty of a double standard on the nuclear issue.
Responding to the expose, a spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week that London continues to be opposed to nuclear proliferation. “But we also recognize Israel’s position needs to be looked at in a regional context, bearing in mind they have neighbors such as Iran who deny the right of Israel to exist,” the spokeswoman said.
Israel neither confirms nor denies having nuclear weapons. Unlike Iran, it did not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and therefore is exempt from mandatory foreign inspection of its atomic facilities.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.