Egypt and the Middle East Resolution at the NPT 2000 Review Conference

Rebecca Stevens and Amin Tarzi
April 24, 2000

As the sixth review conference of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) begins its work on 24 April, one of the key issues likely to become a point of contention is Israel’s nuclear weapons and its status as the only state in the Middle East not party to the NPT.(1)

Confirming the Middle East issue as a “serious challenge” to the 2000 NPT Review Conference, president-designate of the conference, Ambassador Abdallah Baali of Algeria, stated that since the situation in the Middle East has not changed from 1995, “we expect very strong pressure from the Arab states during this conference to have language singling out Israel.”(2)

At the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference (NPTREC), the NPT was extended indefinitely only after adoption of the Resolution on the Middle East. This calls for all states in the Middle East to accede to the NPT and place their nuclear facilities under international safeguards. The resolution came about at the insistence of a number of Arab states and several members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), under the leadership of Egypt.

In the view of many states, not enough attention has been given to implementation of the Resolution on the Middle East. The primary argument from Cairo’s perspective is that while Egypt has been at peace formally with Israel for more that two decades, and no other Middle Eastern state possesses nuclear weapons, Israel continues to enjoy a nuclear monopoly. A thorough understanding of what factors motivated the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and what continues to make it of continued importance to the Arab states, especially Egypt, will clarify its importance at the 2000 Review Conference.

I. Historical Overview

The origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict date from the creation of the modern state of Israel on 14 May 1948. Soon after, a combined Arab force consisting of armies from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria entered Arab portions of Palestine and began fighting with the forces of the newly established Israeli state. With the exception of the Jordanians, the Arab armies performed poorly and were defeated, resulting in the incorporation of all of Palestine by Israel.

The second major military engagement between the Arabs and Israelis, known as the Suez War, was limited to Egypt and Israel and began in October 1956 with invasion of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza strip by Israeli forces. The main Israeli objective was to open the Suez Canal to shipping after the canal was nationalized by Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser in July 1956. France and the United Kingdom joined Israel in this campaign. However, under pressure from the Soviet Union and the United States, the invading armies withdrew from Egyptian territory. The underlying goal of Israel was a preventive war to diminish Egypt’s future capabilities and to conquer more land in order to provide Israel with greater strategic depth. The promise to return conquered territory has also been used as an incentive for peace agreements.

Whereas the Suez War, characterized by Arab historian Fouad Ajami as “the peak of [the] Arab nationalist delirium,” was seen as a victory by Arabs in general and Egyptians in particular; the June 1967 war, commonly known as the Six Day War, shattered that confidence and tilted the scales toward Israel.(3) In the Six Day War, the forces of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria were systematically defeated by the Israeli military. By the time a ceasefire was agreed, the territory under Israeli control had nearly tripled in size to include all of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza strip, the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Golan Heights.

The last major Arab-Israeli war began in October 1973 when Egyptian and Syrian forces launched separate surprise attacks on their respective Israeli-held territories. Dubbed the Yom Kippur War, this attack caught Israel’s military forces off-guard and its aura of invincibility was somewhat diminished. However, the result was not a victory for the two Arab armies. Israeli strategist, Efraim Inbar, believes that the Yom Kippur War was a “watershed event in Israeli political history and in the development of its national security outlook….”(4) Ultimately, however, it did not provide Israel with a sense of security but instead created a feeling of international isolation.

In all four of the Arab-Israeli wars the Egyptians led the Arab side both in the military-political field and in the intangible emotional impetus. As a result, while Egypt’s stature as leader of the Arab world was enhanced, its inability to achieve Arab goals placed it on the defensive both physically and psychologically.

After the 1973 war, the Egyptians began to realize that Israel was not going to be eliminated. This realization was reinforced by the fact that Israel possessed nuclear weapons no Arab country could counter. Although the Egyptians had learned about the Israeli nuclear program at the facilities at Dimona as early as 1959, it was not until the early 1970s that the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons became widely known.(5)

While official Israeli policy on its nuclear posture is intentionally vague, the unofficial view from Tel Aviv is that its nuclear option is designed to address the special situation Israel finds itself in – a region where many states are still at war with it and call for its destruction. In short, the Israeli view is that its nuclear force is defensive and existential, not an offensive weapon for the battlefield or political arena. Most Israeli officials do not hesitate to declare their mistrust of the international system of nuclear safeguards in place in the other Middle Eastern states, and they do not view any change in their country’s nuclear posture until there is comprehensive peace between Israel and all states in the region. Reviewing the main components of the Israeli national security posture during the period from 1973 to 1996, Inbar writes, “Israel did not succumb to the temptation to adopt an open nuclear strategy and continued, therefore, to rely on building a superior conventional force.”(6)

From the perspective of Cairo, the vagueness of Israel’s nuclear policy was no consolation. The fact that its neighbor, which they regarded as an illegitimate state occupying parts of Egyptian territory, had managed to develop nuclear weapons, (which, at the time, only five other states possessed) irritated Egypt. The balance of power and prestige was definitely titled towards the Israelis, even though nuclear weapons were never mentioned in Tel Aviv’s military doctrines or political statements.

Egypt’s official reaction to Israel’s nuclear weapons program from the 1960s onwards was reflected in its quest for surface-to-surface missiles and chemical weapons. Unable to challenge Israel’s nuclear monopoly, Cairo seems to indirectly support opacity in the Israeli nuclear policy until it could be in a position to mount a serious political challenge in the international arena. The first priority for Egypt was the recovery of its territories occupied by Israel.

In 1978, Egypt decided to approach Israel in peace. During the peace negotiations, the authorities in Cairo, under pressure from the United States, “ignored the nuclear issue, understanding that emphasizing the issue would be counterproductive.”(7) Thus the US, although it had exerted pressure on Israel to sign the NPT a decade earlier, attempted to shield Israel’s opaque nuclear policy by the time Egypt and Israel signed the historic Camp David Accords. What the Egyptians gained from singing a peace treaty with Israel was a peaceful restoration of the Sinai Peninsula back to Egyptian sovereignty and hope for a comprehensive peace between the Arabs and Israel. As part of the peace package the Egyptians also established a multifaceted military, economic and political relationship with the United States. The Egyptians traded self-image for security. But the price Cairo paid was the wrath of the majority of Arab states.

The 1979 peace treaty with between Egypt and Israel resulted in what can best be termed a “cold peace” or an “armed peace”. However, with Cairo ostracized from official Arab meetings, the issue of Israel’s nuclear weapons received little attention until 1990 when Egypt began to resume its role as leader of the Arab world.

The peace process began in earnest in October 1991 in Madrid with Egypt resuming its desired central role. Egyptian political commentator Salama Ahmed Salama has echoed Cairo’s views on its pivotal position in the peace process by stating “no one can deny Egypt its historical regional role, particularly after the machine guns fall silent and negotiations are concluded.”(8) Other Egyptian commentators have argued that Egypt “is one of the few countries whose foreign role surpasses its human and material potential” and as an example of this, have cited that since 1990 “Egypt has shouldered the responsibility of sponsoring the peace process.”(9) The issues of broader regional peace and security were addressed in the multilateral working group on Arms Control and Regional Security (ACRS) within the Madrid Framework of multilateral negotiations. However, by 1994-95 ACRS negotiations began to unravel.(10) The nuclear issue had not been forgotten, though, and the insistence for a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East has continued to be voiced in international forums since then.

II. Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in the Middle East

The concept of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons was first proposed by Iran and sponsored by Egypt in 1974 before the General Assembly of the United Nations. A nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) requires that all states in the region agree to eliminate all nuclear weapons, accept IAEA safeguards on all nuclear facilities, and not transfer or accept nuclear weapon technology from outside sources. The application of a NWFZ in the Middle East would require Israel to abandon its policy of nuclear opacity and declare its nuclear holdings, commit itself to their total elimination, and allow inspections of its nuclear facilities. A NWFZ in the Middle East would require an intrusive verification regime. However, the idea seems unlikely to be acceptable without further agreement to allow a verifiable elimination of chemical and biological weapons in the region, as well as long-range ballistic missiles. Since 1990, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has proposed the creation of a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The achievement of a zone free of nuclear weapons or all weapons of mass destruction faces a number of obstacles; it is generally agreed upon that such a goal will take years to realize, and will depend on continued progress in the Middle East peace process. Probably the most difficult aspect will be a change in Israel’s security posture. In a comprehensive study of the feasibility of a NWFZ in the Middle East, Ambassador Mahmoud Karem argues that such a change will ultimately be in the interest of all states in the Middle East, even Israel. The study examines the Israeli case in depth and argues that:

“Some question the viability of establishing a NWFZ in the Middle East and in fact argue against Israel’s relinquishing its nuclear posture. They contend that a treaty establishing a NWFZ in the Middle East would be in the Arab world’s favor and would force Israel into relinquishing an important bargaining chip. In response to these critics this study wishes to postulate the following: Fist, this study understands Israel’s security preoccupation and does not wish to render Israel in a disadvantageous position. This study asserts, however, that security for Israel does not lie in a fragile system of undeclared nuclear deterrence, but rather that security should rest on a legally binding instrument to free the Middle East from nuclear menace.”(11)

A subsequent study of issues related to the implementation of a NWFZ in the Middle East, published by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), recommends a process of increased transparency and confidence building leading up to the establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone. It recommends a regional nuclear test ban, the application of IAEA safeguards on nuclear facilities in the area; the accession to the NPT of states currently non-parties; and provisions for transparency regarding all major nuclear projects in the area as potential confidence building measures. The UNIDIR report also suggested negative nuclear security assurances to prospective zonal states and more stringent verification procedures.(12)

Addressing, and perhaps even negotiating, a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in a regional context such as ACRS seemed plausible. However, talks broke down over an irreconcilable difference on the agenda of the working group. While Egypt insists that the agenda must be comprehensive and include the nuclear issue, Israel refuses to discuss it. Furthermore, it is unwilling to negotiate such a zone until the conclusion of a comprehensive peace in the entire region. This is in direct opposition to the prevailing regional attitudes that nuclear disarmament is an essential goal in its own right and that comprehensive peace and security cannot be achieved until Israel renounces its nuclear option. Some precedent may be found in arrangements arrived at by regional parties in both EURATOM safeguards agreements and the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of nuclear materials (ABACC). The UNIDIR study concludes with an examination of how these two arrangements might provide some guidance in handling a zone in the Middle East in a way, which would satisfy the interests of all parties. “With some sort of a special arrangement, this region-specific regime can be integrated into the universal non-proliferation regime without causing any damage to the regional states’ foreign policy endeavours. Hence, both EURATOM and ABACC have structures and mandates which are independent from the IAEA. Moreover, the Argentine-Brazilian experience suggests the importance of certain processes which significantly contributed to the creation of a climate of mutual confidence…these actions preceded and ultimately paved the way for substantive bilateral, regional and international non-proliferation agreements.”(13)

One of the primary objectives of the Resolution on the Middle East, agreed to as a part of the package of decisions at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, is the commencement of negotiations on a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. It calls upon all states in the Middle East “to take practical steps in appropriate forums aimed at making progress towards, inter alia, the establishment of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear chemical and biological and their delivery systems, and to refrain from taking any measures that preclude the achievement of this objective.” It also makes particular mention of the obligation of the nuclear weapon states “to extend their cooperation and to exert their utmost efforts with a view to ensuring the early establishment by regional parties of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.”

III. The NPT Strengthened Review Process

As called for in the NPT itself, the 1995 Review Conference had to decide whether to extend the treaty indefinitely, or for a fixed period or periods, or not at all. The decision was a difficult one, and would not have been taken, in Egypt’s view, had not the Resolution on the Middle East been adopted as well. As the only final document devoted to a particular region, the Resolution on the Middle East called for all countries in the region to accede to the NPT and place their nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

For Egypt, the adoption of the Middle East resolution was only a partial victory. While the issue of the Israeli nuclear weapons were brought, albeit indirectly, to the forefront of the NPT negotiations, Egypt and its supporters were not provided with any specific timetable for action in regards to the Israel’s nonparticipation to the NPT. Moreover, Egypt had failed to muster the kind of support needed to push its agenda with a stronger hand, thus making its campaign only partially successful. Most disheartening to the Egyptians was the reaction of fellow Arab states that had chosen either to refrain from attending most of the session of the review conference or to keep a very low profile. This lack of full support for the Egyptian position provided the United States the necessary means of political persuasion to keep the NPT extension from being put to a vote.

Since 1995, Djibouti, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates have joined the NPT, leaving Israel as the only country in the Middle East outside the regime. It is increasingly difficult to avoid naming Israel directly in this context, and Egypt would like the 2000 Review Conference to do so. However, there is no guarantee that Egypt can get the support it needs from all the Arab states and major NAM members.

At the first Preparatory Committee for the 2000 Review Conference in April 1997, four positive developments were noted: accession to the NPT by Djibouti, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates; adoption of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution on NWFZ/ME by consensus; “widespread support” of UNGA Resolution 51/48 (1996) “the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East”; and Arab readiness to commence negotiations on a WMDFZ/ME. The Arab states concluded that “all Arab States are complying with the provisions of the Treaty as well as with the letter and spirit of the resolution, while Israel continues to defy those repeated calls by refusing to accede to the Treaty and to place all its nuclear facilities under the IAEA full-scope safeguards.”(14) Regarding the Resolution on the Middle East, however, Egypt argued, “no progress has been achieved in the implementation of the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. The Preparatory Committee meetings should follow up on the implementation of the provisions of the resolution with a view to reporting to the Review Conference on the progress achieved in this regard.”(15)

The following year, at the 1998 PrepCom, Egypt declared, “The States parties to the NPT, and in particular the nuclear-weapon States should play an important role towards contributing to a Middle East as a zone free from nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction. In application of paragraph 6 above, the prepcom should request States parties to the NPT and in particular the nuclear-weapon States, to indicate at every prepcom, starting with the present one, and at the 2000 Review Conference, in what ways they were able to extend their cooperation and to exert their utmost efforts with a view to ensuring the establishment by regional parties of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.”(16)

The conclusion of discussion on the Middle East called for a “study of the nuclear status of the region; the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological; and other items related to arms control and disarmament as well as agreement on the lowest levels of armaments.”(17) It also suggested “workshops, seminars, conferences, etc. which are attended by the States of the region and which deal with relevant political as well as technical issues. These should result in agreement on a process of informal deliberations along the lines of the agenda proposed above.”(18)

The chairman’s working paper for the 1999 PrepCom, circulated on 14 May approached the Middle East Resolution by recalling that “the adoption of the Resolution on the Middle East by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference constituted an integral part of the package of the 1995 outcome, and reaffirmation of the firm commitment to work towards the full implementation of that resolution.” It stressed “the urgent need for Israel to accede to the Treaty without further delay and to place all its nuclear facilities under full scope IAEA safeguards, in order to enhance the universality of the Treaty and to avert the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.”(19) Egypt argued for the establishment of a subsidiary body to further discuss the implementation of the Middle East Resolution: “To this end, Egypt views the following draft recommendations as essential elements to be included in the report of the Preparatory Committee to the 2000 Review Conference at which the establishment of a subsidiary body to its main committee two is imperative for in depth consideration and the recommendation of concrete proposals aimed at the full implementation of the Resolution on the Middle East.”(20)

The language during of the Preparatory Committees suggests that Egypt is unwilling to let the Middle East Resolution be passed over at the Review Conference. The division caused by the Middle East Resolution in 1998 seems never to have been resolved. If anything, it was patched over in 1999, with no conclusive recommendations made to the 2000 Review Conference on whether to establish a subsidiary body to discuss the Middle East Resolution.

IV. Conclusions

A pragmatic approach to addressing the Resolution on the Middle East at the 2000 Review Conference is essential as the Resolution is going to be the focus of discussion for Egypt and some other Arab States. On 28 January, Middle East Newsline reported that the Middle East NWFZ “will be raised in every international forum leading to the NPT review in New York in April.… Cairo will present Israel’s purported nuclear weapons arsenal as the greatest danger to Middle East peace and stability.”(21) To that end, Egypt has pursued a focus on the Middle East Resolution in United Nations Forums, at the reconvening of the Steering Group of the Madrid Multilateral Process, in Arab League Meetings and in other bilateral forums.

Discussion at the IAEA General Conference (30 September to 4 October 1999) regarding the Middle East case was supportive of a NWFZ. The director general, addressing the General Conference stated, “There is clearly a common view among States of the region, which is globally shared, that a Middle East nuclear weapons free zone would contribute to regional stability and security. It is to be hoped that the political climate now prevailing in the region will be conducive to progress in the attainment of these important goals.”(22) In addition, the Conference adopted Resolution 23 (Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East(23)) and discussed the topic Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and Threat.(24)

At the First Committee deliberations of the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt sponsored Resolution 54/51, calling for the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East, which was adopted without a vote on 1 December 1999. The text of the resolution is the same as previous years.

The Future of the Nuclear Option in the Middle East Conference was convened in Cairo in November 1999. It gave its support for the initiative to rid the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction. The conference supported Arab states that have not yet signed the Chemical Weapons Convention or the Biological Weapons Convention, linking their signature with Israel’s accession to the NPT. Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Mansour, director of the Center for Future Studies at Asiut University (Egypt) and director-general of the conference emphasized that “Speeding up the establishment of a common Arab market, uniting all Arabs, and starting joint Arab cooperation is one of the important and vital alternatives to producing Arab nuclear weapons to balance the scales of power, which are tipped in Israel’s favor.” The Conference called for a revival of the Arab nuclear program for peaceful purposes or as a means of putting pressure on Israel to sign the NPT. Dr. Mohammed Sayyid Al-Tantawi, Shaykh of Al-Azhar, even stated that it was imperative that the Arabs and Muslims possess nuclear weapons(25).

The Steering Committee for the Madrid Framework of multilateral negotiations on the Middle East met in Moscow on 1 February 2000, after a hiatus of nearly five years. President Hosni Mubarak said Egypt would attend and lobby for a nuclear-free Middle East.(26) A total of 12 countries met in Moscow to discuss re-establishing the five working groups on regional issues. The working group on arms control and regional security (ACRS) is not currently scheduled to resume work. Egypt argued that nuclear armament in the Middle East would be an essential component of the ACRS agenda. “The arms control group will not be able to meet without a global agenda which includes all the problems that have been suspended, beginning with the issue of nuclear armament in the region,”(27) Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said. He also stressed the importance of a Middle East Nuclear weapon free zone. “There is on the table now an initiative by Egypt on ridding the whole area of the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction – that is the establishment of a zone free from nuclear weapons, free from weapons of mass destruction. We want to move this thing.”(28) According to Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz correspondent Daniel Sobelman, “Egypt is interested in having the arms control committee meet, though Israeli officials said they were pleased at their success in delaying the convening of the committee.”(29)

Shortly thereafter, a London based Iraqi paper ran an article questioning Israel’s position regarding the NPT.(30) It suggested that one of Israel’s primary reasons for not signing the NPT is because this would put the United States in an uncomfortable position. This is indicative of the Arab indignation at the fact that the nuclear powers, primarily the United States, will not urge Israel by name to join the NPT within the context of the Middle East Resolution. Instead, the United States will more likely address the Israeli issue within the framework of universality of the treaty. A recent article in the Middle East Newsline reported that, “The Clinton administration plans to ensure that an April review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does not turn into a debate over Israel’s purported nuclear arsenal. Officials said the United States wants the NPT review in New York on 24 April to encourage Israel and other countries to sign the NPT. These include Cuba, India and Pakistan. So far, 187 countries have signed the treaty. “All four deserve a coaxing,” said John Holum, an advisor on arms control to President Bill Clinton. “The most serious threats in the most recent past have been in South Asia, where India and Pakistan have tested nuclear devices,” he said.(31) The attitude expressed here suggests that the United States does not consider the Israeli issue as important as the conflict in South Asia, despite the fact that the Middle East Resolution was considered essential to securing – and maintaining – Arab support for indefinite extension of the NPT.

On 25 February, the Arab League committee was scheduled to convene for drafting a plan for a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the region of the Middle East.(32) On 7 March, during a meeting of the Arab League in Beirut, Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab Affairs, Dr. Mustafa al-Faqi reiterated his country’s demand that the Arabs countries coordinate their position on Israel’s nuclear issue based on the Egyptian proposed draft resolution.(33) However, no announcement has been made that the Arab League will present a coordinated Arab position on the question of how to address the issue of the Israeli nuclear weapons during the 2000 NPT Review Conference.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s visit to Washington in March is one of the latest indications of the prospects for the Middle East Resolution at the NPT 2000 Review Conference. Mubarak intended to raise the issue of Israel and the NPT with President Clinton. The two also discussed Egypt’s missile dealings with North Korea.(34) Surprisingly, it appears that the United States has taken a liberal stance toward the issue. According to a recent report, “Egypt is importing engines for missiles without any interference by the United States and government sources warn that Washington might be the next exporter of the systems. And, government sources and analysts said, Washington might make it even easier for Egypt and other countries to export components banned by the Missile Technology Control Regime.”(35) Other indications suggest that the US-Israeli dialogue has also dwelt on the NPT issue in the recent past: “Israeli officials have pressed the United States for a pledge that will allow Israel to avoid signing the NPT. The issue was addressed in U.S-Israeli strategic talks over the last few months.”(36) There is a great amount of pessimism that the Review Conference will see any progress on the Middle East Resolution. One source predicts that the United States “will urge Mubarak to stop opposing Israel’s nuclear arsenal in exchange for vague promises that it poses no threat to Egypt…. The opposition the U.S. showed to Cairo’s efforts in 1995 to rally collective Arab support over the NPT issue was replicated over other issues too, and it is clear that Washington is hostile to any attempt by the Arab states to make common cause.”(37)

One challenge the Review Conference must address is finding concrete measures for making progress on the Middle East Resolution. This paper will briefly mention several areas for possible agreement, but it will be the work of intense bilateral and multilateral negotiations both before and during the conference that will dictate the progress made with respect to the Middle East Resolution. Israel’s nuclear facilities at Dimona are ageing – even some Israeli officials admit this(38) – and will eventually have to be closed. This might provide an opportunity to begin negotiations on a regional safeguards system that does not address stockpiles or stocks of fissile material in the short term. Negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), still on hold in Geneva, might employ a similar strategy in approaching the military stockpiles of nuclear weapon states. In fact, if FMCT negotiations do reach a successful conclusion, Israel will have to decide whether to sign on and agree to a verifiable cessation of fissile material production, or risk further indignation from its neighbors. A preliminary regional agreement might help to pave the way for Israeli accession to the FMCT, even in the continued absence of NPT membership. The establishment of a new regional forum for addressing nuclear security issues – one that included all states in the Middle East – is another option. The fact that the international non-proliferation community is unwilling to deal with the persistence of Israel’s non-NPT status gives more significance to regional approaches, and Egypt, which has been at peace with Israel for over twenty years, would unquestionably be the leader in a regional security arrangement, a point that is important for the United States to recognize. Ultimately, Middle Eastern states might even decide that national security can better be addressed at the regional level. Thus, measures for addressing the Middle East Resolution will enhance the ability of the Review Conference to be able to preserve the credibility of the NPT to address nuclear issues.


(1) For a detailed historical overview and an analysis of Israel’s nuclear weapons program and policy, see Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, Columbia University Press: New York, 1998. The term “nuclear opacity” in the view of the authors best describes the nuclear policy of followed by Israel; the more on this term and its evolution, see Cohen’s work.

(2) “NPT 2000 Preview: An Interview with Review Conference President Ambassador Abdallah Baali” The Institute on Religion and Public Policy, Special Report, March 15, 2000.

(3) Fouad Ajami, The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey. Pantheon: New York, 1998, p. 7.

(4) Efraim Inbar, “Israeli National Security, 1973-96” The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Security and Policy Studies, No. 38 (1998), p. 63.

(5) Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, pp. 244-77.

(6) Inbar, “Israeli National Security,” p. 63.

(7) Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, p. 342.

(8) Salama Ahmed Salama, “Life after peace,” Al-Ahram Weekly <> 30 March – 5 April 2000.

(9) Osama al-Ghazali Harb, “Egypt’s Foreign Policy in Mubarak’s Fourth Term,” The International Politics Journa l<> October 1999.

(10) Bruce W. Jentleson and Dalia Dassa Kaye, “Security Status: Explaining Regional Security Cooperation and Its Limits in the Middle East,” Security Studies, 8, no. 1 (autumn 1998), p. 205.

(11) Mahmoud Karem, A Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East: Problems and Prospects. Greenwood Press, New York 1988, p.87.

(12) Jan Prawitz and James F. Leonard, A Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East, UNIDIR 1996, p. 63.

(13) Mustafa Kibaroglu, “EURATOM & ABACC: Safeguards Models for the Middle East?” Annex to UNIDIR 1996 A Zone Free of Weapons on Mass Destruction in the Middle East, p. 117.

(14) NPT/CONF.2000/PC.I/32 pp. 53-55.

(15) 5 NPT/CONF.2000/PC.I/32 p.15.

(16) The Resolution on the Middle East, working paper submitted by Egypt (NPT/CONF.2000/PC.II/22) (17) Ibid.

(18) Ibid.

(19) 1999 PrepCom Chairman’s Working Paper (May 14th) paragraphs 25-26.

(20) “The Implementation of the Resolution on the Middle East” Working Paper submitted by Egypt (NPT/CONF.2000/PC.III/12) (21) “Egypt Will Press Israeli Nukes in Moscow,” Middle East Newsline, <> 31 January 2000.

(22) Mohammed Elbaradei, Statement to the General Conference, 27 September 1999 <>.

(23) Resolution 23 – Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East – was adopted on 1 October. The resolution “affirms the urgent need for all States in the Middle East to forthwith accept the application of full-scope Agency safeguards to all their nuclear activities as an important confidence-building measure among all States in the region and as a step in enhancing peace and security in the context of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone” <>.

(24) The Draft Memorandum accompanying the request that this item be reconsidered states, “Whereas all Arab States have acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Israel continues to defy the international community by refusing to become a party to the Treaty or to place its installations under the Agency’s comprehensive safeguards system, thus upsetting the balance needed to achieve peace in the region and exposing the region to nuclear risks. Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is likely to lead to a destructive nuclear arms race in the region, especially if Israel’s nuclear installations remain outside any international control.”

(25) “The Future of the Nuclear Option Conference Supports Ridding the Region of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Al-Ittihad, <> 19 November 1999.

(26) “Mubarak says Egypt Wants Nuclear-Free Middle East,” Arabia On-Line, <> 27 January 2000.

(27) “Middle East Peace Talks Start Strong in Moscow,” Agence France-Presse, 01 February 2000.

(28) “Bloodshed Overshadows Middle East Peace Meeting,” Reuters, 1 February 2000.

(29) Daniel Sobelman, “Israel Pleased at Success of Multilateral Talks,” Ha’aretz English Internet Edition, <> 2 February 2000.

(30) “Behind the Scenes: the Dangers of the Israeli Nuclear Weapons…and the Danger of Silence,” Al Zaman 14 February 2000.

(31) “U.S. Doesn’t Want NPT Review to Focus on Israel,” Middle East Newsline, 17 February 2000.

(32) “AL Committee Meets on Israeli Nuclear Activities,” Syria Times < > 23 January 2000.

(33) “Dr. Mustafa al-Faqi: Egypt Demanded That the Arab Foreign Ministers Coordinate Their Positions on the Israeli Nuclear File,” Al-Ahram <> 7 March 2000.

(34) “Israel, USA Claim Egyptian Missile Links with North Korea,” Janes Defence Weekly, 23 February 2000, p. 18.

(35) “Egypt, Iran Import Engines for Missiles,” Middle East Newsline, 28 March 2000

(36) “Egypt plans to press Clinton for Israel to sign NPT,” Middle East Newsline, 16 March 2000.

(37) LEXIS-NEXIS “Israel’s intransigence blamed for failure of Assad-Clinton Summit,” 27 March 2000 <>.

(38) Professor Uzi Even, a senior worker at the facility in the 1960s, stated recently, “the plants infrastructure, which was built 36 years ago, is worn out and this risks sparking incidents.” See “Israeli scientist demands closure of Dimona nuclear plant” Jordan Times, <> 7 February 2000.

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