Israel has once again escaped an attempt by the Arab bloc to force Israel to submit its nuclear facilities to international scrutiny.
The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voted overwhelmingly against the resolution sponsored by Egypt calling for international monitoring of Israel’s nuclear facilities.
This year’s proposal – which is presented annually – was voted down by 61 member nations, including the entire European Union.
Forty-three nations supported the resolution and 33 countries abstained from casting a vote.
The office of Israel’s prime minister hailed what it called a “great victory for Israel in the international arena” following the vote, held Thursday at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 59th General Conference in Vienna.
“In recent weeks, there has been a combined national effort, led by the Prime Minister and the National Security Council, the Foreign Ministry, and the Atomic Energy Commission,” the office observed in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday night that he personally had spoken directly with more than 30 presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers about the importance of the issue.
“I explained that there was no place to hold a discussion of this kind as long as the main problem in the Middle East is Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons and its clear declarations regarding its intention to destroy the State of Israel.
I welcome the fact that the gap in Israel’s favor was significantly larger than the votes in previous years,” he said, adding that he thanked all the countries that supported Israel, and “especially the U.S., Australia and Canada.
“I thank the EU for voting as a single bloc in favor of Israel against the decision,” he added.
The resolution included a clause referring to Israel’s nuclear arsenal as a “permanent threat to peace and security in the region,” and would have forced the Jewish State to become a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, thus placing Israeli nuclear facilities directly under IAEA supervision. Israel has never formally acknowledged any possession of nuclear arms, and maintains an official position of “atomic ambiguity.”
Egypt itself is presently in the process of negotiating construction of its own nuclear facilities with Russia, which has been involved in producing nuclear plants for Iran for more than a decade.