A State with a Bomb

There is nameless state in our region that some time ago – quite recently in fact – has obtained nuclear weapons with which it is threatening the peace of the whole region. ‘According to foreign sources’, it has between 150 and 400 nuclear, hydrogen and neutron bombs, quite sufficient for the whole Middle East; quite sufficient, in fact, for a considerable part of the globe. How has it obtained these weapons? ‘Illegally’ as they say: at times through falsifying documents and concluding secret agreements with colonial powers, at times through cheating the inspectors who have come to view its nuclear reactor, at times through lies, and at times simply through maintaining ‘nuclear ambiguity’.

We are not naming the state – though it’s really no secret – so that we can think about it without thinking through the state, under ideological bombardments on its population, assisted by the media, by occasional leaks and by a politics of fear. This state believes that it is the only one allowed to own such weapons, that only its weapons are ‘pure’, and that only its own nuclear bombs are good, while those of its neighbours are dangerous.

The US State Department calls such states ‘rogue states’; and in all honesty – who can better understand what a rogue states are than presidents of the United States? The state has obtained its nuclear reactor via an alliance of the excommunicated with a colonial power (France) while the latter was deeply immersed in one of the bloodiest 20th Century wars, the colonial war against the Algerian people, during which hundreds of settlements were wiped off the face of the earth, two million Algerians were forcibly expelled from their villages and a million and a half people were killed.

After that time it became a little difficult to obtain raw materials. Which was why the state’s loyal agents were sent to work. During the 1960s the state obtained uranium for its nuclear reactor in all sorts of ways – ships disappeared, dispatches were hijacked; it makes interesting reading. And later, when a more reliable source was needed, who came to the state’s assistance if not South Africa? And so the second alliance of the excommunicated came about, this time with the Apartheid regime.

The architect of the state’s nuclear project worked in secret, always in association with the state’s supreme leader. Ministers and scientists voiced their opposition, but the two circumvented them, obtaining funding outside the state budget. Several years later the architect of the bomb was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Strange world.

The nuclear state is utterly democratic. However, its citizens, Arabs and Jews alike, including those living in proximity to the nuclear reactor, have never been told where the state dumps its nuclear waste. They have never found out how the reactor is secured. Technicians and other reactor employees have been subject to experiments such as drinking uranium. Is this the reason for the proliferation of cancer among them? The state has never answered this question.

The state’s citizens have never been given an opportunity to discuss whether they want a nuclear bomb: the state leader has actually denied the very existence of the nuclear project in parliament. When parliament member Issam Makhul (Hadash) managed to raise the issue for debate (but only after obtaining a Supreme Court injunction), all members of the right wing parties left the hall. ‘Does the doomsday weapon ensure Israel’s security? I think not. The whole world knows that Israel has a biological, chemical and nuclear arsenal which accelerates the process of armament in the Middle East,’ Makhul said. We call it civic courage.

In 2003 MK Makhul put forward a parliamentary question based on a detailed study by the Carnegie Institute, that argued, he said, that ‘Israel is storing nuclear weaponry in, inter alia, Haifa bay, Mount ‘Elabun in the Galilee and in Kfar Bet Zekhariah near Beit Shemesh. Are these claims true?’ He got no answer.

And lest we forget: when one nuclear technician dared to speak about the bomb, not to foreign powers but to the citizens of his own state and of the world, he was kidnapped, accused of spying, and jailed for 18 years, mostly in solitary confinement. It is more than likely that it was the prophet of peace – who was also the architect of the nuclear bomb – who ordered this vengeful persecution.

For several years the nuclear state has been preparing for war, because its neighbours also want a nuclear programme. The war was planned by two Ayatollahs; one former general who plays the piano, befriends the richest people on earth and loves playing and trading in arms – a true lightning, Barak. The other resembles him very much, minus the piano playing, but with a sense of historical mission. The planned war is not about removing the nuclear threat or defending our lives and the lives of all the people of the Middle East. The planned war is about safeguarding the state’s nuclear monopoly and the right to make everyone – Jews, Arabs, Kurds, Iranians, Turks, Greeks – shake with fear.

And let us be clear: this war won’t be nicer if waged under the auspices of the number one world power, the same power that has already sent two unnecessary nuclear bombs in 1945 (blessed be the Cold War!), the same power that hurried to boast the moment it built hydrogen bombs, and that has thrown more bombs (as well as biological and chemical weapons) on Vietnam in one colonial war than have been used by all the fighting forces during the Second World War. No: these words are not written in support of the state rulers who wish to fight so as to safeguard the state’s ‘strategic supremacy’ but prefer to do so under the umbrella of their favourite world power.

Because ordinary people have no such umbrella. Only the rich and strong have, and only they can flee their homes when the ground is burning. Ordinary people have no umbrella to defend them not only against nuclear arms but also against the whole Middle East deteriorating to conventional war, that, according to former leader, general and arms trader Ehud Barak’s kind promises would kill less than 500 citizens…

People who really want to live in the Middle East must live with their neighbours, not under the umbrella of the world powers, the empires, or the bomb. Don’t like your neighbours? You have a problem. This is the region, these are the neighbours. Many don’t like the state’s leaders and their corrupt elites, but what can most of the citizens do about it?

The only possible future for the Middle East is complete mutual demilitarisation, no more nuclear, biological, chemical weapons of mass destruction. The only future for the people living in this state is full equality without supremacy, without the right to bomb anyone, without the support of old and new colonial powers, and without hallucinations of empire.

We who live here are justly afraid of the warlords leading us to the next war.