A U.N. delegation is in Israel this week to meeti with Israeli officials in an effort to convince it to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Israeli journalist Yossi Melman wrote in The Jerusalem Post Monday.
Israel has signed the treaty, which is not enforced because it has not been ratified by several signatories, including the United States, Iran and Egypt. North Korea is one of three countries that have not even signed it.
Israel’s having signed the treaty not to test nuclear weapons does not imply admission that it possesses them. Ratifying it also would not be an admission. On the other hand, any cooperation with the United Nations on nuclear weapons could be interpreted by officials a sign that they can pressure the country to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which would be an admission of the possession of nuclear weapons and would force opening nuclear facilities for international inspections.
Israel has maintained “nuclear ambiguity,” a policy that does not admit or deny the presence of nuclear weapons, which is widely assumed to be part of the country’s defense weaponry.
Lassina Zerbo, the executive secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) told Melman, “I believe that eventually Israel will ratify the treaty.” He is meeting with the director-general of Israel Atomic Energy Commission and with outgoing Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.
The CTBT treaty will not have legal significance until Israel, the United States and six other countries ratify the treaty that concerns countries with nuclear technology.
However, the other countries include not only North Korea but also Pakistan and India, all of which have not signed it.
Israel has two stations for monitoring nuclear tests. Monitors around the world were able to detect North Korea’s nuclear tests several years ago.
Despite Dr. Zerbo’s optimism, Melman wrote, “It appears unlikely that Israel will ratify the CTBT anytime soon.” He quoted an Israel Atomic Energy Commission comment to the Post that Israel is concerned by the use of chemical weapons in Syria and “the refusal of key states in the region – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran – to operate on their soil monitoring stations as it was decided by the CTBTO.”
Israel has repeatedly that it would not be the first country to “introduce” nuclear weapons to the Middle East. Its assumed nuclear stockpile estimated at between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads.
It is also is wide assumed that the Nixon administration made a secret agreement with Prime Minister Golda Meir that the United States would turn a blind eye towards Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons and not press it to sign the NPT on condition that the country does not carry out any nuclear tests.