Newly declassified State Department documents [thorough review in Ha’aretz] detail a lot about U.S. and Israeli thinking on Israel’s development of nuclear weapons.
First, we learn that then army chief-of-staff Yitzhak Rabin believed that Israel’s nuclear weapons should have the range that “covers [all] Arab capitals.” Israel is now threatening Iran because it states that it is unacceptable for Israelis to live with the fear of an Iranian nuke, but, apparently, it is okay for Arabs to live with the fear of Israeli nukes. You may state that Israel is not aggressive unlike Iran. Iran has not invaded a country in centuries, while since 1948 Israel has bombed the following countries: Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Sudan and in 1973 it downed a Libyan civilian airliner. Who’s the threat to the neighbor?
Mind you that Tunisia never initiated a war against Israel and even advocated recognition long before Egypt. Yet that did not stop Israeli jets from bombing a PLO office in Tunis thus violating Tunisia sovereignty and in the act not just killing innocent Palestinians but Tunisians as well. Rabin openly threatens all Arab nations even those who have never been hostile to the Jewish state. Think about that whenever you hear Israeli complain about Iran’s nuclear program.
And then there is the prejudice exhibited by U.S. officials. It may be hard to believe, but the United States was opposed to Israel’s nuclear development and sought to coax the nation into forgoing nukes and signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel objected and arrogantly dismissed U.S. policy officials. The United States tired to convince Israel that its argument that it needs nuclear weapons to deter Arab “aggression” was flawed because Arabs are, alas, irrational:
If Rabin were to say that Israel believes nuclear weaponry and strategic missiles can deter Arab states from hostile actions, Warnke should respond that the American administration anticipates a completely different, and disastrous, consequence: Soviet nuclear missiles in Egypt and perhaps other countries as well.
Here, Warnke added: Israel’s theory of missile and nuclear deterrence will not work in the Arab context, because “it ignores the Arabs’ unstable and irrational nature. We believe, based on experience, that such deterrence can work only if the other side is capable not only of rational analysis, but also of ongoing rational action, in particular during times of rational pressure. We know, and Israel knows, that neither the Egyptians, the Syrians or the Iraqis are known to demonstrate such rational thinking and behavior and we cannot be confident that they will be able to do so for decades to come.”
U.S. officials, citing such Arab insanity, tired to convince Israel that the acquisition of nuclear weapons would only endanger the country because then Arabs would acquire them and the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction would not work with them because they would be more than happy to ensure their own deaths to see Israel obliterated [sound familiar?]. Needless to say, Israel acquired nukes and the Arabs didn’t and even if they did they would not nuke Israel. And Israel did not think they would either. Who would have thought that in any given meeting Israelis would should more regard toward Arabs than Americas.
Such released documents should aid our analysis in what Israel is saying about Iran now: that Iran is irrational and that Iran is the aggressor.