The Bush administration has avoided pressing Israel to
sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or related accords.
A report by the Washington-based Arms Control Association asserted that
the administration has done little more than mouth rhetoric for countries to
sign the NPT and related agreements. The report said that neither President
George Bush nor senior aides have pressed Israel to sign the NPT or the
Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would place a cap on the production of
plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons.
"Since taking office," the report said, "the current administration has
not raised disarmament issues with Israel, contenting itself with continuing
the practice of previous administrations of periodically tipping its hat to
the importance of the universality of the NPT as a long-term goal but
deferring any efforts to pressure Israel on this issue until a broader,
lasting peace in the Middle East is achieved."
[On Wednesday, an Indian daily reported that Israel has agreed to
cooperate with New Dehli in the development of nuclear-powered submarines, Middle East Newsline reported.
The Hindu daily reported that India, which has sought to produce a nuclear
submarine since 1985, could replace Russia as the main partner in such a
The report, entitled, "Israel, India, and Pakistan: Engaging the Non-NPT
States in the Nonproliferation Regime," said the administration has decided
to focus on efforts toward Israeli-Palestinian peace rather than a
nuclear-free Middle East. The administration has embraced the view by Israel
that peace in the Middle East is a precondition for eliminating nuclear
"Indeed, the United States is seeking to forge an international
consensus on the need to pressure Iran to curtail its weapons-related
nuclear activities, while Israel bolsters its ability to deal with the
possible failure of such efforts by investing in missile defense and,
reportedly, a second-strike nuclear deterrent," the report, authored by
Marvin Miller and Lawrence Scheinman, said.
Miller is a research affiliate at the MIT Center for International
Studies. Scheinman served as assistant director of the Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency for Non-Proliferation and Regional Arms Control in the
Clinton administration and was a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory
Board on Arms Control and Nonproliferation from 1998 until 2001.
The report said the administration has acknowledged that India and
Pakistan Ñ which have tested atomic bombs Ñ have nuclear weapons. But the
White House has never acknowledged Israel's nuclear weapons program, which
the report termed as more advanced than either that of Islamabad or New
The United States, the report said, must consider pressing Israel to
sign the NPT and other nuclear non-proliferation treaties if Iran signs the
Additional Protocol of the NPT. The report said this could resolve what it
termed a significant sorepoint in the troubled relations between United
States and the Muslim world, which has accused Washington of adopting a
nuclear double standard that favors Israel.
"For now, however, it is more important to focus on reducing political
tensions in the Middle East and engage Israel more fully in the
nonproliferation regime rather than in a divisive debate about the ambiguity
surrounding its nuclear status," the report said. "No state, even the United
States, has unlimited political capital, and efforts should be focused where
there is a chance that some progress might be made."