Joby Warrick’s May 12 front-page look at the potential spread of nuclear weapons raised important issues.

But examining the dangers of possible nuclear proliferation, especially in the Middle East, without so much as mentioning the one existing nuclear weapons state in that region was a disservice to Post readers. That existing nuclear power, of course, is not Iran but Israel, which maintains an illegal stockpile of 100 to 400 nuclear bombs that remain inaccessible to U.N. nuclear inspectors.

Israel’s nuclear arsenal is officially unacknowledged by the Israeli and U.S. governments, although Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted in December 2006 that Israel was indeed a nuclear weapons state.

But the widely known existence of those provocative nuclear weapons, combined with Israel’s rejection of calls for a nuclear weapons-free zone throughout the Middle East, has long helped fuel the region’s arms race.

Until Israel’s nuclear weapons are acknowledged, brought under U.N. inspection and ultimately abolished, they, like our own vast nuclear arsenal, will continue to spur dangerous efforts by other countries to obtain even more nuclear weapons, putting us all at even greater risk.

New Internationalism Project
Institute for Policy Studies

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies where she directs the New Internationalism project. Her books include Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer and more recently Ending the Iraq War: A Primer.

Get more news like this, directly in your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter.