State Dept: Israel in Charge of When We’ll Enforce US Bans on Foreign Aid Over Its Nuclear Weapons Program

In “major policy disclosure breakthrough” State Department spokesperson Ned Price responds to questions by Sam Husseini, referring questions about Israel’s nuclear weapons program to…Israel.

By Sam Husseini

Global Research, March 01, 2023

husseini 28 February 2023

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On Monday, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price would not acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal, actually referring questions on the subject to the Israeli government itself. After the briefing, I received a written response to detailed questions regarding Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal I submitted on Feb. 13, below.

The State Dept. is, as I charged, maintaining — actually escalating — a decades long cover-up in not acknowledging Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. This is for the apparent purpose of not invoking the Glenn-Symington amendment to the Arms Export Act, which prohibits aid to nuclear proliferators. Archbishop Desmond Tutu admonished the Biden administration to end this cover-up in his last article, published by the Guardian a year before his death: “Joe Biden should end the US pretence over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons: The cover-up has to stop – and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians.” Clearly, the administration is not heeding Tutu’s words.

This comes at a time when the Biden administration is reportedly greenlighting Israeli threats to attack Iran, a subject which Price passed on addressing at the news conference.

Video (transcript below):

Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, who has closely tracked US policy toward Israel’s nuclear weapons program, said today: “This is a major policy disclosure breakthrough. The State Department is admitting that formal US acknowledgement of Israel’s nuclear weapons program and accountability to U.S. taxpayers who want Arms Export Control Act compliance is Israel’s decision.

“For example, ongoing lack of progress on JCPOA negotiations over Iran’s thus far non-weapons producing program means zero AECA [Arms Export Control Act] enforcement on Israel’s program. Israeli declarations that a rival’s delivery systems are ‘nuclear capable’ means zero AECA enforcement on Israel’s program.

“Israeli ‘discovery’ or suspicion of the existence of any ‘rogue’ nuclear facility such as the one Israel destroyed in Syria in 2018  mandate zero AECA enforcement on Israel’s program. False but enduring US intelligence community 2001 assertions that aluminum tubes bound for Iraq were to be used for centrifuges or that country was determined to procure uranium from Niger mandate zero AECA enforcement on Israel’s program. CD’s seized by Mossad from “Iran’s nuclear archive” reported in 2018 mandate zero AECA enforcement on Israel’s program.

“If such a State Department position and foreign aid law had been in place in 1963, when JFK was fighting to keep the Israelis from producing nuclear weapons at Dimona, Israel could have delayed enforcement. The Israeli government, through publications financed by the Jewish Agency and distributed in the United States, was accusing Egypt of building ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in order to ‘launch a war of extermination against Israel.’” [See graphic below]

”The Department of State’s declared position means that Israel effectively controls when, if ever, the US will uphold AECA. Given Israel’s position of ‘nuclear ambiguity’ over its own weapons and constant generation of often false reports about its regional rivals, AECA enforcement will never happen.”


HUSSEINI: Yeah, I ask you about the apparent Israeli violations of the Arms Export Act a week or two ago [“State Dept. Claims ‘We Follow the Law in Every Instance’ but Stonewalls on Law About Israeli Nukes”], and you said you weren’t familiar with the laws that would cut off funding to any state that was a nuclear proliferator. Do you have anything further on that?

PRICE: I believe the team provided you some additional background on that. [They emailed me that they would but didn’t give a substantial response until after I asked this question (below)] As in the past, we’re just not in a position to comment specifically on this. Would refer you and any questions you may have on this —

HUSSEINI: But how do you have – how do you expect to have any credibilityon this subject when you can’t even acknowledge that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal?

PRICE: Again, I just don’t have anything to offer on this, so we’d refer any questions to the Israeli government. As a practice, when it comes to just about any country, certainly any partner, we don’t speak in detail to the capabilities, to the programs of partners around the world, just as we would expect they would not speak to ours.


HUSSEINI: You’re referring me to the Israeli government about their own nuclear program?

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

PRICE: That’s correct.

HUSSEINI: About their own nuclear program – you can’t acknowledge that Israel has a nuclear weapons program?

Full transcript of Feb. 27 news conference. Full video.

After questioning State on Feb. 13, I was asked to submit more information to State, which I did that day:

The Symington and Glenn Amendments in the Arms Export Control Act 22 USC §2799aa-1 forbid US aid to clandestine nuclear weapons state non-NNPT signatories unless presidents obtain a waiver from Congress.

Israel has been acknowledged by the US as a nuclear weapons state.

The 1974 CIA SNIE states “We believe that Israel already has produced nuclear weapons.”

The Department of Defense report Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations clearly documents Israel’s nuclear weapons production facilities, revealing:

1. The Israelis were “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level.”

2. “The SOREQ and the Dimona/Beer Shiva facilities are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. The SOREQ center runs the full nuclear gamut of activities from engineering, administration and non-destructive testing to electro-optics, pulsed power, process engineering and chemistry and nuclear research and safety. This is the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication.”

3. “The capability of SOREQ to support SDIO and nuclear technologies is almost an exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories.”

While there are provisions in USC §2799aa-1 for presidents to obtain waivers from the Congress for continued aid, as recently as 2018 a member of congress confirmed that no such waivers had ever been issued. (attached)

My unanswered question remains, specifically, how can past, present and future U.S. foreign aid to Israel be lawful under the Symington Glenn amendment restrictions found currently in USC §2799aa-1 and in force since 1976?

I had some communication but did receive a response until Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. from State, which makes no reference to the law cited. This is especially remarkable since the entire exchange took place because Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson claimed: “We follow the law in every instance.”

U.S. policy on this issue has been consistent for decades. The United States has long supported universal adherence to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and remains firmly committed to the goal of a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. We have urged all states that have not yet done so to accede to the NPT and to accept full-scope IAEA safeguards on all of their nuclear activities.

However, we acknowledge that achieving these goals in the Middle East is a long-term objective that will require essential precursors to be in place, including a comprehensive and durable regional peace and compliance by all regional states with their existing nonproliferation commitments and obligations.

So, Israel has to make peace with everyone before the US will acknowledge it has nuclear weapons.


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Featured image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on Iran’s nuclear programme at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv on 30 April 2018 (Source: Middle East Eye)

The original source of this article is husseini

Copyright © Sam Husseinihusseini, 2023


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