|Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan|
Israel's eleventh-hour bid to block resolution calling on it to join the NPT and open the Dimona nuclear complex to inspection focuses on non-aligned countries.
By Yossi Melman
Israel is making an eleventh-hour effort to block a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency General Assembly calling on the country to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and open the Dimona nuclear complex to inspection.
The resolution is being proposed by Egypt and the Arab states with a vote expected Thursday or Friday.
How the vote will go is unclear. Israel is focusing its efforts are persuading countries in the nonaligned bloc not to back the Arab initiative.
Last year, the agency's General Assembly passed a similar resolution by a four-vote margin. Egypt now apparently feels more confident it will rally more support as the gathering comes months after a preparatory meeting in New York on the NPT, and the United States has also called for a nuclear-free Middle East.
The 2009 resolution called on IAEA chief Yukiya Amano to prepare a report on how best to implement it. His report earlier this month said he had invited Israel to consider joining the NPT. Arab countries called Amano's report "weak and disappointing," adding that "the report neither contained an assessment [of] the Israeli nuclear capabilities, nor did the Agency try to obtain any information about these capabilities, especially concerning a military dimension...." Israel has been promised the support of the U.S., the European Union and other Western countries and also South American states.
Dr. Shaul Horev, head of Israel's Atomic Energy Committee and who is heading the Israeli delegation at the assembly, addressed the body and noted that the IAEA is targeting Israel and raises an anti-Israeli agenda "whose purpose is to avoid serious discussion on violations of the NPT by countries in the Middle East." He noted that four countries in the Middle East have already violated their commitment to the NPT - a reference to Iran, Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Horev said Israel is "concerned by the developments," and that the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons does not stem from countries who are not party to the treaty, like Israel, India and Pakistan, but from countries who are signatories of the treaty and who violate it.
He expressed sorrow that Egypt has adopted the stance that it has and recalled that Cairo has not ratified the treaty, which would transform Africa into a nuclear-free continent.