Netanyahu Cancels Washington Visit Fearing Ambush

Like the gleeful sound one makes upon hearing that a particularly obnoxious and troublesome relative will not be attending a family gathering, Washington officials probably issued a collective sigh of relief when hearing the news that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has canceled his visit to Washington planned for next week. The Israeli Prime Minister has caused enough diplomatic problems for the Obama government recently and his appearance at an international summit on the spread of nuclear weapons could have further embarrassed both Israel and the United States.

Netanyahu will not attend the weapons conference because he is afraid to confront a group of representatives of Arab nations who plan to bring up the issue of Israel’s non-participation in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. These nations want to force Israel to publicly acknowledge its nuclear capability and permit international inspection of its facilities.

The Jerusalem Post refers to the Israeli nuclear arsenal as “alleged,” maintaining the ludicrous Tel Aviv “policy of ambiguity.” The headline of the Hebrew version of Ynet says Netanyahu is afraid of an “ambush” by the Arab delegates to the conference. Israel will send Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor to the conference to be the flak-catcher for Netanyahu. The Israeli leader’s absence will deflect attention from the potential bad publicity that discussion of Israel’s nuclear capability will generate.

Israel maintains an arsenal which is assumed to be between 100 and 300 warheads depending on the source of the data estimate. Mordechai Vanunu revealed details of Israel’s nuclear arsenal to the British press in 1986. He served 18 years in an Israeli prison after being abducted from Italy by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. Vanunu is prohibited from leaving Israel, where his freedom of speech, association and movement have been severely limited by authorities since his release. He has been designated as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

According to the Federation of American Scientists website, it has been reported that “fearing defeat in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Israelis assembled 13 twenty-kiloton atomic bombs.” The fact that Israel may have seriously considered a nuclear strike in 1973 first became known to the general public in Seymour Hersh’s 1993 book, The Samson Option. If my memory serves me, Hersh claimed that Israel loaded the nukes on missiles and aimed them.

Surely the Americans must be ecstatic about Netanyahu not coming for another visit, although they are forced by their “very special relationship” with Israel to explicitly deny the obvious. The dubious honor for the denial fell on the shoulders of General James Jones, who told reporters that “of course we wanted the Prime Minister [Netanyahu] to come [back for another visit].”

Isn’t the very special Israeli-American relationship getting more special all the time?

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Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts lives in Madison, New York where he operates a used and rare book business and is a college reference librarian. Mr. Glunts' writings have appeared on Mondoweiss.net, AntiWar.com, CommonDreams.org and PalestineChronicle. He can be reached at gluntsi[at]morrisville[dot]edu

5 Comments

  1. An interesting debut for Mr. Glunts. Where the hell is Madison, NY? Is it upstate? I’d be interested to hear more about your book business –I’m a collector and also do some scouting and selling (to dealers only).

    Your story about the nuclear business in ’73 is incomplete. The Soviets actually dispatched a ship with nukes on it to Egypt; this and not fear of defeat at the hands of the Egyptian Army provoked the Israelis to prepare the nuclear option. Nixon then called the alert (“Assume DEFCON 3”) and the Russian ship turned around before reaching Alexandria. That’s the true story.

    Another little known fact: several hundred (some say a few thousand) Russian “advisors” were captured by the Israelis during the 1973 Sinai campaign. Last I heard (in the early 1980s) they were still rotting in Israeli jails. . . .

  2. what a pity these politicians weren’t really like gangsters. I’d love to see a shoot out. I don’t care who wins or dies. They aren’t real people.

    War, and the collateral damage that occurs is real evil. If a few of these politicos were to die, so what. I wish they’d just fight each other. They are such cowards, why don’t they handle it all in their little meetings.

    Wouldn’t it be delightful if the armies were all set, left idling ready to attack each other only to learn a Mexican stand-off resulted in only a few bodyguards surviving. No orders today gentlemen the kings are dead!

  3. The Washington Nuclear Security Summit next Monday and Tuesday, Apr 12-13, is a security nightmare: It will be the largest gathering of heads of state since the founding of the United Nations.

    Netanyahu is only avoiding the potential for a terrorist incident.

  4. After the way Obama treated Natanyahu he should never go back…and Israel should never never never disarm….Christian America might need their help before this insanity is over…Obama is making of America into a hell hole..

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