Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1948 Palestinian Exodus

1948 Palestinian Exodus

The 1948 Palestinian exodus (Arabic: الهجرة الفلسطينية‎, al-Hijra al-Filasīnīya), also known as al Nakba (Arabic: النكبة‎, an-Nakbah), meaning the "disaster", "catastrophe", or "cataclysm",occurred when between 650,000 and 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes by Jewish or Israeli forces, during the creation of the state of Israel and the civil war that preceded it. The term "Nakba" was first used in this way by Syrian historian Constantine Zureiq in his 1948 book, Ma'na al-Nakba (The Meaning of the Disaster).

Nur-eldeen Masalha writes that over 80 percent of the Arab inhabitants of the area that became Israel left their towns and villages. Jewish advances, such as that on Haifa, fears of a massacre after Deir Yassin, and a collapse in Palestinian leadership caused many to leave out of panic, while most of those who remained were expelled by Jewish soldiers or, later, the Israeli government. A series of laws passed by the first Israeli government prevented them from returning to their homes, or claiming their property. They and many of their descendants remain refugees.

During the 1949 Lausanne conference, Israel proposed allowing 100,000 of the refugees to return to the area, though not necessarily to their homes, The figure included 25,000 who had returned surreptitiously and thousands of special family-reunion cases, reducing the offer to 65,000 – 70,000. The proposal was conditional on allowing Israel to retain the territory it had taken, and on the Arab states absorbing the remaining 550,000 – 650,000 refugees. The Arab states rejected the proposal because it was “less than token,” and because they argued the “Jews cannot oppose large numbers of refugees on economic grounds while encouraging mass immigration of Jews (to Israel).”

The status of the refugees, and in particular whether they have a right to return to their homes or be compensated, are key issues in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The events of 1948 are commemorated by Palestinians every 15 May, on what has become known as Nakba Day.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine

Al Nakba - The Palestinian Holocaust

Al Nakba - The Palestinian Holocaust
by: Dr Zulaiba Ismail

Much has been documented in great detail of the events that unfolded when a grand plan was hatched more than 100 years ago to create a homeland for the Jews by carving out the heart of Palestine. It was on the 14th of May 1948 that the state of Israel came into being literally with blood on its hands as a result of the forcible seizure of villages and land from the Palestinians who had lived there for centuries.

The Zionist disinformation machinery propagated the view that a land without people should be given to a people without land. Thus the Palestinians were slaughtered and ethnically cleansed so that their land could be transferred to the Jews who were supposedly in need of a homeland.

In May 1949 the United Nations invited the newly created state of Israel to become a member while the erstwhile state of Palestine was relegated to oblivion. The Palestinians had become an indistinct mass of refugees – not a nation, not a political entity, only a problem, and not a major one at that! If the United Nations, led by Zionist stalwarts Britain and USA were sincere in being fair to both States in this partition plan, surely they would have recognized the state of Palestine as well. Over the last 60 years the Israelis have succeeded in telling the world that their State is beleaguered and faced by the onslaught of Arab aggression.

Ilan Pappe of Haifa University has documented how Plan Dalet, spearheaded by David Ben Gurion in March 1948, succeeded in expelling 800,000 people, and destroying 531 villages and 11 urban neighbourhoods in six months. This was a clearcut case of ethnic cleansing involving coldblooded mass murder and other atrocities such as bombardments on a civilian population.

It has been reported that the British army under the Mandate closed one eye and allowed another 250,000 Palestinians to be expelled. The Palestinians have termed this the Nakba or catastrophe, which till today remains an unresolved crime against humanity. The Holocaust lasted six years and the Nakba has been going on for more than 60 years! The pro-Israel nations were quick to hold a tribunal at Nuremberg to try Nazi war criminals but has any International court done anything to bring justice to the Palestinian victims?

Sir Gerald Kaufman, Member of Parliament in Britain and who was an early advocate of Zionist ideology, acknowledged in Parliament earlier this year that Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism. Her further elaborated that Israel exploited the continuing sense of guilt felt by the West as justification for the slaughter of Palestinians, the massacres of Deir Yassin in 1948 and Sabra and Shatila in 1982, to name a few.

Palestinians have always been advised to forget the past and start anew wherever they may be. The paradox is that they live out the consequences of the past every day as oppressed people under a violent military occupation: as a powerless minority in Israel: or as marginalized exiles in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. Yet the Israelis will not allow the world to forget the Holocaust and ironically it is the Palestinians who have been made to pay a heavy price.

George Galloway referred to the “original sin” of the Balfour Declaration that led to the birth of the illegitimate state of Israel. The Jewish orthodox group, Naturei Karta (Guardians of the Faith) have chosen to live in exile in Britain and USA rather than migrate to Israel as the birth of Israel was not by divine decree but rather by a Zionist ideology that rejected many of the teachings of Judaism. This sect looks forward to the day when a free Palestinian state is established, one in which they would most readily reside.

Gaza Under Attack

The present day political quagmire of Palestinian disunity, i.e. Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank only serves to highlight the empirical adage of debasement of human nature to the point of ‘when dog eats dog’! The exploitation of Palestinian disunity and the blatant manipulation of using Palestinians to wipe out Palestinians is a game that has been perpetuated through centuries of colonisation wherein natives were pitted against natives. It is plain to see that the intra Palestinian murderous conflict going on now is just a case of history repeating itself.

Today we have a situation in which the world sits on its hands and watches while a democratically elected Hamas government which won 76 of the 132 seats in the internationally monitored Palestinian elected is rejected and boycotted by most world leaders and the United Nations. Is this not a case of abiding by Israeli dictates? Former US President Jimmy Carter was present during this election exercise and respects the decision of the Palestinian people. He recently urged President Obama to recognize the Hamas government but it remains to be seen whether doublespeak about democracy will still rear its ugly head in this newly elected American government.

Israel’s publicity stunt in 2005 when it withdrew 8,000 settlers from Gaza was just a smokescreen to tighten its control over Gaza’s air, sea and land spaces. The terrorising of the Gazans continued with nightly assassinations and incursions. Gaza’s atrategic and economic value (especially with the discovery of gas reserves offshore) was too high for the occupying force to ignore. So when the people voted in a Hamas government, Israel and its allies instituted a crushing blockade of Gaza, imposing a stranglehold over its 1.5 million people such that it has become the world’s largest concentration camp.

A ceasefire initiated by Hamas was broken by Israel in November 2008 with the killing of several Palestinians. This provoked a Hamas response which the Israelis welcomed with the unleashing of the most brutal and murderous onslaught on the people of Gaza at the end of the year. This lasted for over three weeks, with more than 1,300 dead (mostly civilian men, women and children) and several thousands permanently maimed and injured. The whole of the Gaza strip was reduced to a rubble. Against this horrific Palestinian tally, only 13 Israelis were killed, most of whom were invading soldiers!

Even UN sanctuaries, clearly marked and constantly communicated to the Zionist forces were not spared. Television footage and web-based media recorded the gory details of this carnage, providing proof that the invading forces had made abundant use of depleted uranium, white phosphorous. D.I.M.E and other nuclear-based illegal weapons, not to mention F-16’s and other sophisticated weaponry supplied by the USA. All this was unleashed on an already emasculated population, most of whom depended on food aid from shoestring agencies since unemployment had exceeded 60 per cent.

No Cause For Celebration

The present scenario presents an even more dismal future, if indeed there is a future. The reconstruction of Gaza continues to be obstructed by the Zionist blockade despite the fact that the perpetrators would be beneficiaries of the profits accruing from redevelopment projects funded by so-called sympathetic government who preferred this route to that of outright condemnation of Israel.

After the merciless attacks on Gaza, the people on Israel voted in a decidedly right-wing coalition as if to signal the coup de grace of any attempt at a peace process.

Indeed there is now the unashamed declaration to increase the number of illegal settlements and a defiant open campaign to confiscate Palestinian properties around Jerusalem, thus completing the Judaisation exercise. It will be interesting to see how President Obama (who had earlier urged a halt on new settlements), will deal with this Israeli defiance.

Dr. Salam Abu Sitta. At the Palestinian Right of Return Coalition in San Francisco in 2006, summarized the Palestinian struggle in the following manner:

In the 90th year in the Palestinian struggle for freedom and peaceful life in our homeland of Palestine since 1996 – a campaign of Genocide has been waged against the Palestinian people….

A Genocide of killing
A Genocide of elimination
A Genocide of exile and banishment
A Genocide of decapitating organizations by assassinating their leaders
A Genocide of slow death by cutting sources of food, water and medicine
A Genocide of civilised life by destroying schools, universities and hospitals
A Genocide of oblivion by destroying the national identity and denying the rights for citizenship and nationality.

Needless to say, the pain of the Palestinian people is a pain that all peace loving people throughout the globe share. It is a pain caused by unbridled injustice at the hands of modern day barbarism. It is the pain of the entire Muslim ummah, who together with oppressed people throughout the world, suffer the hypocrisy of a supine leadership whose main agenda is to appease the aggressors.

The Al Nakba is a reflection of the catastrophe being played out in the various theatres of war in the Muslim world. Witness the aggression against the ummah in Iraq and Afghanistan, the destabilization of Pakistan, the targeting of Iran, the dismemberment of Bosnia and Sudan, the degradation of Somalia and the destruction of Chechnya.

Where Israel is concerned, political correctness prevails everywhere and diplomatic decorum stands in the way of the bully’s nose getting bloodied, even when the bully has contemptuously violated UN resolutions for the last 40 years. It is a slap in the face for the defunct world body when Israel refuses to allow any form of humanitarian aid into Gaza. The UN cannot guarantee the passage of ships carrying humanitarian and medical aid in the international waters off Gaza. Yet no one in the United Nations has ever condemned or called for the removal of the Zionist state from its membership. The UN Security Council has never taken decisive action with respect to Israeli war crimes as member states know full well that USA and Britain would use their powers of veto to protect the rogue state.

And so the Palestinian tragedy remains the greatest moral blight on the conscience of the world today.

-Former Professor and Dean of The Graduate Centre, UiTM, Di Zulaiha Ismail has for the most part of 20 years actively partnered Palestinian NGO’s to ameliorate the conditions of refugee life in the camps, especially in Lebanon. Among her other various interest, she is also a Trustee of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Don’t Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Count?

Don’t Israel’s nuclear weapons count?
By: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Leaders of the rich nations have turned their fire on Iran, quite rightly. Last week came news that the Islamic Republic had been building a secret uranium enrichment plant near Qom. Then the junta fired test missiles. Unlike Iraq under Saddam, there are, in Iran, nuclear developments that could lead to weapons of mass destruction. It is not an immediate but a future danger, say credible intelligence experts and indeed Barack Obama himself.

Suddenly the president has got uncharacteristically belligerent, instructing Iran to open up all its nuclear facilities for inspection if it wants to avoid "a path that is going to lead us to confrontation". In May, Obama stood in Washington with the hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu, who we were told was there to seek assurances that there would be no shift from the conventional US position of total and unconditional support for Israel’s policies right or wrong, known and clandestine.

The US, China, Britain, France, Russia and Germany meet in Geneva tomorrow and, by that time, Iran will be expected to submit to international scrutiny. As a supporter of the now crushed and broken reformers in Iran, I back the ultimatum to the fanatic and bellicose Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But what about that camel in the room? The one we all see but can’t point out? What about the only power in the Middle East, also fanatic and aggressive, which has a stockpile of weapons enough to obliterate the region? Listen people, we need to talk about Israel. And soon. Like now.

I have been in contact with a young Iranian woman who wore a green scarf and lipstick on the streets of Teheran, whose uncle is being tortured in prison there for demonstrating against the results of the election. Somehow she escaped from the country and is in Britain briefly before going on to the US to make a new life. Let us call her M.

Nobody could hate Ahmadinejad more than M; she hates the whole regime, the treacherous leaders who betrayed the people. When she speaks she often gets asthmatic. But yet, but yet, she finds her passions rising for her country this week because of fears of military strikes by Israel and the manifestly unfair way that Israel is indulged. "I will go back if they attack my country, even if they put me to jail," M says. "That is my duty. Israel is the enemy of peace and America gives them money to get more arms. I don’t want Iran to have these terrible weapons, but Israel must also be stopped."

The big powers are moving tentatively towards global de-nuclearisation, taking small but significant steps to show they do want everyone to pitch in. Obama’s decision to shelve the European defence missile programme shows serious intent, so too Gordon Brown’s announcement that Britain would cut down from four to three its Trident missile-carrying submarines. There was a moment this spring, albeit fleeting, when Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state and Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator, asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, thus breaking the 40-year-old silence and US complicity in its accumulated, un-inspected arsenal. Her reasonable appeal provoked apoplexy in a nation that assumes special, indeed exceptional, treatment.

In the 1960s, Israel successfully hid its weapons from US inspectors. In 1986, Israeli nuclear technical assistant Mordechai Vanunu revealed information about the concealed stockpiles and has been punished ever since. Hubristic Israel no longer cares to deny that it has hundreds of atom and hydrogen bombs and devastating biological "tools". Netanyahu has been warning he will destroy the Iranian sites if his country feels the danger is real. Now he has just what he wanted, another crisis in the Middle East, to keep up the idea of plucky, vulnerable, endangered little Israel.

Alarmingly, even the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz is on his side. History has made too many Israelis fear all humanity in perpetuity and that fear brings out the worst in that nation. It has predictably rejected the long, sober, unbiased UN report on the last assault on Gaza chaired by Richard Goldstone. He accused Hamas of crimes against Jewish civilians and charged Israel with grave crimes, the breaking of the Geneva convention, punishing and terrorising unarmed civilians.

I have some images of these victims sent to me by a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist. Children turned to ash, blistered mothers weeping, and on and on. There still is no respite for the hungry and dying in Gaza. If Israel can mete out such treatment and not be called to account, just think what the state feels entitled to do to Iran.

The Israeli human rights activist Gideon Spiro bravely asks that his country be subject to the same rules as Iran and all others in the Middle East: "Rein in Israel, compel it to accept a regime of nuclear disarmament and oblige it to open all nuclear, biological and chemical facilities and missile sites to international inspection." The US has leverage because it maintains and funds Israel. If Obama shies away from this, there can be no moral justification to go for Iran or North Korea or any other rogue state. And the leader whose election and dreams gave hope to millions thereby hastens the end of the world. – The Independent

Source: theSun, Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Israel and Nuclear Weapons

Israel and Nuclear Weapons

Israel has not confirmed that it has nuclear weapons and officially maintains that it will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Yet the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is a "public secret" by now due to the declassification of large numbers of formerly highly classified US government documents which show that the United States by 1975 was convinced that Israel had nuclear weapons.


Israel began actively investigating the nuclear option from its earliest days. In 1949, HEMED GIMMEL a special unit of the IDF's Science Corps, began a two-year geological survey of the Negev desert with an eye toward the discovery of uranium reserves. Although no significant sources of uranium were found, recoverable amounts were located in phosphate deposits.

The program took another step forward with the creation of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) in 1952. Its chairman, Ernst David Bergmann, had long advocated an Israeli bomb as the best way to ensure "that we shall never again be led as lambs to the slaughter." Bergmann was also head of the Ministry of Defense's Research and Infrastructure Division (known by its Hebrew acronym, EMET), which had taken over the HEMED research centers (HEMED GIMMEL among them, now renamed Machon 4) as part of a reorganization. Under Bergmann, the line between the IAEC and EMET blurred to the point that Machon 4 functioned essentially as the chief laboratory for the IAEC. By 1953, Machon 4 had not only perfected a process for extracting the uranium found in the Negev, but had also developed a new method of producing heavy water, providing Israel with an indigenous capability to produce some of the most important nuclear materials.

For reactor design and construction, Israel sought the assistance of France. Nuclear cooperation between the two nations dates back as far as early 1950's, when construction began on France's 40MWt heavy water reactor and a chemical reprocessing plant at Marcoule. France was a natural partner for Israel and both governments saw an independent nuclear option as a means by which they could maintain a degree of autonomy in the bipolar environment of the cold war.

In the fall of 1956, France agreed to provide Israel with an 18 MWt research reactor. However, the onset of the Suez Crisis a few weeks later changed the situation dramatically. Following Egypt's closure of the Suez Canal in July, France and Britain had agreed with Israel that the latter should provoke a war with Egypt to provide the European nations with the pretext to send in their troops as peacekeepers to occupy and reopen the canal zone. In the wake of the Suez Crisis, the Soviet Union made a thinly veiled threat against the three nations. This episode not only enhanced the Israeli view that an independent nuclear capability was needed to prevent reliance on potentially unreliable allies, but also led to a sense of debt among French leaders that they had failed to fulfill commitments made to a partner. French premier Guy Mollet is even quoted as saying privately that France "owed" the bomb to Israel.

On 3 October 1957, France and Israel signed a revised agreement calling for France to build a 24 MWt reactor (although the cooling systems and waste facilities were designed to handle three times that power) and, in protocols that were not committed to paper, a chemical reprocessing plant. This complex was constructed in secret, and outside the IAEA inspection regime, by French and Israeli technicians at Dimona, in the Negev desert under the leadership of Col. Manes Pratt of the IDF Ordinance Corps.

Both the scale of the project and the secrecy involved made the construction of Dimona a massive undertaking. A new intelligence agency, the Office of Science Liasons,(LEKEM) was created to provide security and intelligence for the project. At the height construction, some 1,500 Israelis some French workers were employed building Dimona. To maintain secrecy, French customs officials were told that the largest of the reactor components, such as the reactor tank, were part of a desalinization plant bound for Latin America. In addition, after buying heavy water from Norway on the condition that it not be transferred to a third country, the French Air Force secretly flew as much as four tons of the substance to Israel.

Trouble arose in May 1960, when France began to pressure Israel to make the project public and to submit to international inspections of the site, threatening to withhold the reactor fuel unless they did. President de Gaulle was concerned that the inevitable scandal following any revelations about French assistance with the project, especially the chemical reprocessing plant, would have negative repercussions for France's international position, already on shaky ground because of its war in Algeria.

At a subsequent meeting with Ben-Gurion, de Gaulle offered to sell Israel fighter aircraft in exchange for stopping work on the reprocessing plant, and came away from the meeting convinced that the matter was closed. It was not. Over the next few months, Israel worked out a compromise. France would supply the uranium and components already placed on order and would not insist on international inspections. In return, Israel would assure France that they had no intention of making atomic weapons, would not reprocess any plutonium, and would reveal the existence of the reactor, which would be completed without French assistance. In reality, not much changed - French contractors finished work on the reactor and reprocessing plant, uranium fuel was delivered and the reactor went critical in 1964.

The United States first became aware of Dimona's existence after U-2 overflights in 1958 captured the facility's construction, but it was not identified as a nuclear site until two years later. The complex was variously explained as a textile plant, an agricultural station, and a metallurgical research facility, until David Ben-Gurion stated in December 1960 that Dimona complex was a nuclear research center built for "peaceful purposes."

There followed two decades in which the United States, through a combination of benign neglect, erroneous analysis, and successful Israeli deception, failed to discern first the details of Israel's nuclear program. As early as 8 December 1960, the CIA issued a report outlining Dimona's implications for nuclear proliferation, and the CIA station in Tel Aviv had determined by the mid-1960s that the Israeli nuclear weapons program was an established and irreversible fact.

United States inspectors visited Dimona seven times during the 1960s, but they were unable to obtain an accurate picture of the activities carried out there, largely due to tight Israeli control over the timing and agenda of the visits. The Israelis went so far as to install false control room panels and to brick over elevators and hallways that accessed certain areas of the facility. The inspectors were able to report that there was no clear scientific research or civilian nuclear power program justifying such a large reactor - circumstantial evidence of the Israeli bomb program - but found no evidence of "weapons related activities" such as the existence of a plutonium reprocessing plant.

Although the United States government did not encourage or approve of the Israeli nuclear program, it also did nothing to stop it. Walworth Barbour, US ambassador to Israel from 1961-73, the bomb program's crucial years, primarily saw his job as being to insulate the President from facts which might compel him to act on the nuclear issue, alledgedly saying at one point that "The President did not send me there to give him problems. He does not want to be told any bad news." After the 1967 war, Barbour even put a stop to military attachés' intelligence collection efforts around Dimona. Even when Barbour did authorize forwarding information, as he did in 1966 when embassy staff learned that Israel was beginning to put nuclear warheads in missiles, the message seemed to disappear into the bureaucracy and was never acted upon.

Nuclear Weapons Production

In early 1968, the CIA issued a report concluding that Israel had successfully started production of nuclear weapons. This estimate, however, was based on an informal conversation between Carl Duckett, head of the CIA's Office of Science and Technology, and Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb. Teller said that, based on conversations with friends in the Israeli scientific and defense establishment, he had concluded that Israel was capable of building the bomb, and that the CIA should not wait for an Israeli test to make a final assessment because that test would never be carried out.

CIA estimates of the Israeli arsenal's size did not improve with time. In 1974, Duckett estimated that Israel had between ten and twenty nuclear weapons. The upper bound was derived from CIA speculation regarding the number of possible Israeli targets, and not from any specific intelligence. Because this target list was presumed to be relatively static, this remained the official American estimate until the early 1980s.

The actual size and composition of Israel's nuclear stockpile is uncertain and the subject of many - often conflicting - estimates and reports. It is widely reported that Israel had two bombs in 1967, and that Prime Minister Eshkol ordered them armed in Israel's first nuclear alert during the Six-Day War. It is also reported that, fearing defeat in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Israelis assembled 13 twenty-kiloton atomic bombs.

Israel could potentially have produced a few dozen nuclear warheads in the period 1970-1980, and is thought to have produced sufficient fissile material to build 100 to 200 warheads by the mid-1990s. In 1986 descriptions and photographs of Israeli nuclear warheads were published in the London Sunday Times of a purported underground bomb factory at the Dimona nuclear reactor. The photographs were taken by Mordechai Vanunu, a dismissed Israeli nuclear technician. His information led some experts to conclude that Israel had a stockpile of 100 to 200 nuclear devices at that time.

By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. We believe these numbers are exaggerated, and that Israel's nuclear weapons inventory may include less than 100 nuclear weapons. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided.

The Dimona nuclear reactor is the source of plutonium for Israeli nuclear weapons. The number of nuclear weapons that could have been produced by Israel has generally been estimated on the basis of assumptions about the power level of this reactor, combined with estimates for the number of delivery vehicles (aircraft, missiles) assigned a nuclear mission.

Information made public in 1986 by Mordechai Vanunu indicated that at that time, weapons grade plutonium was being produced at a rate of about 40 kilograms annually. If this figure corresponded with the steady-state capacity of the entire Dimona facility, analysts suggested that the reactor might have a power level of at least 150 megawatts, about twice the power level at which is was believed to be operating around 1970. To accommodate this higher power level, analysts had suggested that Israel had constructed an enlarged cooling system. An alternative interpretation of the information supplied by Vanunu was that the reactor's power level had remained at about 75 megawatts, and that the production rate of plutonium in the early 1980s reflected a backlog of previously generated material.

The constraints on the size of Israel's stockpile include several potential variables, several of which are generic to any nuclear weapons program. The Dimona reactor may have operated an average of between 200 and 300 days annually, and produced approximately 0.9 to 1.0 grams of plutonium for each thermal megawatt day. Israel may have use between 4 and 5 kilograms of plutonium per weapon [5 kilograms is a conservative estimate, and Vanunu reported that Israeli weapons used 4 kg].

The key variable that is specific to Israel is the power level of the reactor, which is reported to be at least 75 MWt and possibly as high as 200 MWt. New high-resolution satellite imagery provides important insight this matter. The imagery of the Dimona nuclear reactor was acquired by the Public Eye Project of the Federation of American Scientists from Space Imaging Corporation's IKONOS satellite. The cooling towers associated with the Dimona reactor are clearly visible and identifiable in satellite imagery. Comparison of recently acquired commercial IKONOS imagery with declassified American CORONA reconnaissance satellite imagery indicates that no new cooling towers were constructed in the years between 1971 and 2000. This strongly suggests that the reactor's power level has not been increased significantly during this period. This would suggest an annual production rate of plutonium of about 20 kilograms.

Based on plausible upper and lower bounds of the operating practices at the reactor, Israel could have thus produced enough plutonium for at least 100 nuclear weapons, but probably not significantly more than 200 weapons.

Some type of non-nuclear test, perhaps a zero yield or implosion test, occurred on 2 November 1966 [possibly at Al-Naqab in the Negev]. There is no evidence that Israel has ever carried out a nuclear test, although many observers speculated that a suspected nuclear explosion in the southern Indian Ocean in 1979 was a joint South African-Israeli test.

Source: Nuclear Weapons

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