How is Israel a Non-Nuclear Weapon State?Posted: October 8, 2015
I just ran across this recent report by David Albright and ISIS. Before proceeding, I just have to take this opportunity to share a chuckle of incredulity with others who have similarly noted Albright’s decision to change ISIS’ Twitter handle to . . . wait for it . . . @TheGoodISIS. Talk about self delusion. I’ve enjoyed some schadenfreude-filled moments lately seeing even the arms control wonk establishment bashing Albright on Twitter.
But back to the report. On the whole it’s innocuous enough – an accounting of civil HEU stocks around the world. But what caught my eye is that on Page 5, Israel is listed in the portion of a table titled “Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) that received US-origin HEU.” It made me wonder what possible criteria ISIS was using to categorize Israel as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State? Israel is of course not a party to the NPT, which is the legal source for the term Non-Nuclear Weapon State. So Israel clearly can’t be called an NNWS based on its membership in that category of states parties the NPT.
I don’t know if Albright is trying to play some game of semantics here by reference to NPT Article IX(3), which defines a nuclear weapon state as “one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967,” and therefore by exclusion determining that Israel can’t be categorized as one of those, and so must be a non-nuclear weapon state. But if that’s the game, Albright should note that this sentence in Article IX(3), read in full, makes it clear that this definition is only applicable “For the purposes of this Treaty . . .” So this definition, and any negative extrapolation, does not apply to Israel.
So what about just a colloquial use of the term non-nuclear weapon state? If that’s what Albright means here, then he’s being pretty disingenuous in referring to Israel by this term. It’s well documented that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, and willfully turning a blind eye to this evidence – if that is what he’s doing – just makes Albright look like he’s whitewashing over it.
Not very “scientific,” ISIS.