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Top: Jewish Atrocities: Israel's Nuclear Blackmail: Samson Option

This article appeared freely on the Internet on August 9, 2021 at and is archived here only for scholarship, research, education, and personal use by those previously requesting it in accordance with the "fair use" provision in Title 17 Section 107 of the copyright law.

Israel's Nuclear Blackmail

Samson Option: Israel's Plan to Prevent Mass Destruction Attacks
David Eberhart
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2001
With American bombing raids into Afghanistan and a tough President Bush intimating more of the same for other terrorist-harboring nations, experts and armchair war-watchers are inserting nuclear powerhouse Israel into the calculus of potential Armageddon in the Middle East.

Adding yet other variables, a defiant Saddam Hussein issued an ominous warning in late August, just weeks before the terror attacks on New York City and the Pentagon: "The battle [against the U.S.] continues on the economic, political and military fields. We are convinced we will be victorious."

All that the saber-rattling Iraqi dictator left out of this latest diatribe was a bold repeat of his 1991 pre-Desert Storm boast that if America attacked, the first to feel his wrath in the "mother of all battles" would be Israel.

After decades of living among hostile neighbors, Israel has yet to be attacked by an enemy using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. One reason may be the horrific plan some claim Israel drew up to prevent such an attack. The plan was called the Samson Option. An astute investigative journalist and student of history chalked a dramatic potential solution to the volatile equation on the blackboard - a decade ago.

"Should war break out in the Middle East again and should the Syrians and the Egyptians break through again as they did in 1973 [Yom Kippur War], or should any Arab nation fire missiles again at Israel, as Iraq did [in the 1991 Gulf War], a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong possibility."

Pulitzer Prize-winning author ("My Lai 4") Seymour M. Hersh made this hypothesis in his 1991 best seller "The Samson Option."

Captured and cruelly maimed, the book’s biblical namesake uttered the ultimate fighting words, "Let my soul die with the Philistines."

That said, the divinely empowered Samson pushed apart the temple pillars - collapsing the roof and killing himself as well as his enemies.

In his exposé of Israel’s clandestine nuclear arsenal, Hersh suggested that in the early days (late 1960s) of crude big-flash-and-bang nukes, one defensive option to counter an attack on Israel with weapons of mass destruction was for the beleaguered nation to mimic Samson and grimly trade holocaust for holocaust.

Hersh's 1991 prognostication of a "strong possibility" of the use by Israel of nuclear weapons rested on his knowledge that by the mid-1980s, Israeli technicians at the super-secret Dimona nuclear plant had produced hundreds of low-yield neutron warheads capable of destroying large numbers of enemy troops with minimal property damage.

Israel's ability to use nukes tactically and surgically, however, has evolved a great deal since the Samson option was still realistically an option.

Israel's Military Might

In 1997, Jane's Intelligence Weekly examined satellite photographs of what it described as an Israeli military base at Kfar Zechariah, concluding academically, "Israel's nuclear arsenal is larger than many estimates."

According to Jane's, the site was said to house about 50 Jericho-2 missiles, believed to have a maximum range of about 3,000 miles with a warhead of about 2,200 pounds.

According to the report, the installation contained nuclear bombs, configured for dropping from bombers.

Furthermore, five bunkers at the site were cited as capable of safeguarding 150 weapons.

"This … supports indications that the Israeli arsenal may contain as many as 400 nuclear weapons with a total combined yield of 50 megatons," the report concluded.

In 1998 the New York Times reported a Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Pentagon that opined Israel had enough plutonium to make 70 nuclear weapons.

More light was shed on the issue in February of last year when the Israeli Knesset (parliament) held the first public discussion on the country’s nuclear arms program.

Issam Mahoul, an Arab Israeli MP and member of the Hadash (Communist) Party, petitioned that country’s Supreme Court to force the government to permit a parliamentary debate on the forbidden subject.

The upshot of this bold and generally unpopular tactic was an unprecedented televised session of the Knesset at which Mahoul stated that, according to experts' estimates, Israel had stockpiled huge numbers of nuclear warheads.

This had increased to what he described as the "insane amount of 200-300." The weapons had been developed with the help of the South African apartheid regime.

Working up a head of rhetorical steam, Mahoul grandly alleged that three new German-built submarines just purchased by Israel were to be fitted with nuclear weapons.

Their stated purpose, he said, was "to cruise deep in the sea and constitute a second strike force in the event that Israel is attacked with nuclear weapons."

Mahoul also announced what was hardly a news bulletin - Israel was producing "biological warfare" weapons at the government's Biological Institute in Ness Ziona.

The obstreperous MP concluded that the government's official policy of "nuclear ambiguity" was the height of self-delusion. "All the world knows that Israel is a vast warehouse of atomic, biological and chemical weapons that serves as an anchor for the Middle East arms race," he said.

Despite the bristling inventory of nukes, the Israelis have a laudable history of restraint in brandishing, much less using, these most destructive of all weapons of mass destruction.

In fact, for most of the latter half of the 20th century, the Israeli Bomb remained invisible and unacknowledged. Israel's official position was to neither confirm nor deny its nuclear status, only pledging on the record "not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East."

A Show of Restraint

According to Hersh, the best example of Israeli restraint in the face of great provocation came during the Gulf War.

On the second day of the American invasion, Saddam Hussein fired eight Scud missiles at noncombatant Israel. Two of the conventionally armed missiles landed on Tel Aviv. Then Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir responded by ordering mobile missile launchers armed with nuclear weapons moved into the open and deployed facing Iraq.

The Samsonesque strongman of the Middle East had stirred - and the world held its breath.

Promising Patriot missile batteries and loads of future aid, the United States pressured Israel to keep cool. After all, the allied coalition included a number of Arab nations, and the U.S. feared that dramatic Israeli retaliation could fragment the fragile alliance.

By the end of the Gulf War, Israel had dutifully absorbed 26 Scuds - none armed with biological or chemical weapons.

And therein lies the rub. What if the missiles had featured biochemical agent warheads?

Israel's prime ministers have plenary jurisdiction over their country's nuclear activities.

The refrain used consistently by the Israeli leaders has been and remains an unqualified: "Israel reserves the right to retaliate if attacked."

Traditionally, Israeli leaders have pigeonholed nuclear weapons as a psychological insurance policy for unthinkable contingencies, under the heading of "last resort."

The hope of those in the inner sanctums of national security is that the exigencies of America's New War send no such unthinkable contingencies in the direction of America’s quiet ally.

David Eberhart is the former news editor for The Stars and Stripes and A retired military officer and the published author of five novels, he recently contributed to the New York Times best seller "Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul."


This article appeared freely on the Internet on August 9, 2021 at and is archived here only for scholarship, research, education, and personal use by those previously requesting it in accordance with the "fair use" provision in Title 17 Section 107 of the copyright law.

Israeli Nuclear Threats and Black Mail

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"Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches." Israeli leader Ariel Sharon

"Masada was not an example to follow--it hurt the Romans not a whit, but Sampson in Gaza? With an H-bomb? What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens?" David Perlmutter in Los Angeles Times


      The United States government and foreign policy under George W. Bush is run by neoconservatives tightly linked to Israel's right wing Likud Party and to Christian Zionists who believe an expansionist Israel will cause an apocalypse which will bring back Jesus (and he'll promptly kill all the Jews who don't convert!).  Both groups desire to re-make the Middle East, in large part to make it safer for Israel to keep and even expand the large portion of its land it has illegally confiscated through state terrorism and military conquest over the last 60 years.  And the Democrats aren't much better.
      However,  Americans should consider carefully Israel's nuclear weapons and its threats to use them if the United States ever withdraws its full backing or if Israel's possession of its stolen lands is ever seriously endangered. Threats include retaliatory -- or even preemptive -- attacks on Muslim, Russian and even European targets. Israel considered the Soviet Union an enemy backer of Arab nations and thinks the new Russia only a tad more trustworthy. Any attack on Russia, of course, would quickly bring massive retaliation against Israel's greatest ally -- the United States. No doubt this is a major reason U.S. political leaders approach Israel with fear and respect -- and rarely punish it for its violations of U.S. law, United Nations Resolutions, the Geneva Convention and a variety of other treaties. Israel has a nuclear knife to America's throat.
As mentioned on this nuclear war home page, the U.S. government already threatened to use nuclear weapons, and even went on full nuclear alert, to prevent any "Soviet aggression" in the Middle East, especially to protect Israel in its pre-emptive and defensive wars of 1956, 1958, 1967, 1973, 1979 and 1982.  Had there been some sort of technical hardware or software accident, or misinterpretation of evidence, any of those alerts could have resulted in a full scale nuclear war killing most Americans.
      However, just as threatening to Americans, and the world, is Israel's aggressive stance towards using its own 200 to 400 nuclear weapons -- ones which it has never formally admitted exist.  
These weapons can be deployed by air, missile or submarine to almost any place on earth.  Therefore it is important for people to learn about Israel's nuclear programs and Israel's many threats to use them.

         Seymour M. Hersh, the reporter who broke the story of the U.S. soldiers massacring villagers at Mai Lai in Vietnam, published in 1991 the controversial book The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy.  The Biblical Samson, of course, brought down a temple that killed himself and his enemies. According to the "The title of Hersh's book comes from Israel's notion that once they have the Bomb, they are in a position to bring it all down on everyone if ever they feel cornered. It's the ultimate in Israeli security as a nation-state, if not for the security of humankind. Israel used nuclear blackmail to force Kissinger and Nixon to airlift supplies during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and they passed U.S. secrets collected by Jonathan Pollard to the USSR when it served their interests. The Bomb has been a hidden factor in U.S.-Israeli relations ever since the Eisenhower administration, but this is the first book [to] deal with Israeli relations from this perspective."
        The Federation of American Scientists site notes: Strategically, Israel uses its long-range missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft (and, some say, submarines with nuclear-armed cruise missiles) to deter both conventional and unconventional attacks, or to launch "the Samson Option", an all-out attack against an adversary should defenses fail and population centers be threatened. In addition, despite Israel's insistence that it "will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East," these systems represent an effective preemptive strike force.

        President Bill Clinton, despite his many faults, at least may have distanced himself from this option.  A Federation of American Scientists 1998 report on "Counterproductive Threats states: "Defense analyst Zeev Schiff opined in independent Haaretz (2/4): "Too many senior Israeli officials have taken to issuing threatening statements vis-a-vis Iraq and Iran.... Off-the-cuff Israeli nuclear threats have become a problem, even before the onset of the Iraqi crisis.... Washington may decide it wants to distance itself from Israel in order to avoid being accused of having conspired with us on an action we planned exclusively by ourselves."

       However, in late 2002 U.S. President George Bush evidently approved Israel's nuclear response to an Iraqi attack with biological and nuclear weapons -- before the United States invasion.  According to News.Scotsman.Com in an article titled "Sharon eyes 'Samson option' against Iraq  
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon - who is courting extreme right-wingers to prop up his teetering government following the withdrawal of the Labour Party last week - has spoken openly of his willingness to strike back, and strike back hard, should his country be attacked by Iraq. ... Sharon's blunt admission that a retaliatory strike would be ordered in the event of an attack on Israel with non-conventional weapons came after discussions with US President George W Bush.
        Israeli officials later interpreted the president's stance as giving the green-light to Sharon to attack Baghdad only if Iraq launched a pre-emptive strike against the Jewish State before an American military campaign had got underway.
        The officials said if an American military offensive had already begun, then Israel should show restraint and allow the US forces to retaliate.

        Of course, the Samson Option has more and more become a pre-emptive war option as well.   Even an American University professor urged Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to be ready to attack any threatening nation first. Louis Rene Beres, Professor Department of Political Science, Purdue University, in a spring, 2001 open letter to Sharon reviewed by Israeli Insider wrote that Israel "must rely upon complementary nuclear and conventional forces, and upon the continuing and associated availability of critical preemption options." Beres suggests that Israeli nuclear deterrence has been significantly eroded and offers little protection against the irrational calculations of Islamic fanatics who see the destruction of the Zionist entity as a religious commandment. He argues that the cost of an Israeli first strike on sources of the nuclear, chemical and biological threats may be lower than waiting, hopefully, for the elimination of these threats by other means or the possibility that political agreements will reduce the likelihood of their use.

        In an article called “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism” Livia Rokach, in a study based on Moshe Sharett's Personal Diary, and other documents describes Iraeli’s history of terrorism that provides a context for these nuclear threats.  The article is forwarded by Noam Chomsky.


Israeli nuclear plant at Dimona, left.  Two Mordechai Vanunu photos at right.
More Photos at htdocs/documentary.htm

       Anti-nuclear activist John Steinbach's lengthy article
Israeli Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Threat to Peace explores how Israel uses it's threat of preemption.  It is widely quoted, especially on Israel's threats:

Israel has made countless veiled nuclear threats against the Arab nations and against the Soviet Union (and by extension Russia since the end of the Cold War). One chilling example comes from Ariel Sharon, the current Israeli Prime Minister "Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches."
In another example, Israeli nuclear expert Oded Brosh said in 1992, "...we need not be ashamed that the nuclear option is a major instrumentality of our defense as a deterrent against those who attack us." According to
[Israeli human rights activist] Israel Shahak, "The wish for peace, so often assumed as the Israeli aim, is not in my view a principle of Israeli policy, while the wish to extend Israeli domination and influence is." and "Israel is preparing for a war, nuclear if need be, for the sake of averting domestic change not to its liking, if it occurs in some or any Middle Eastern states.... Israel clearly prepares itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East..., without hesitating to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones."

[sraeli Foreign Minister] Shimon Peres; "acquiring a superior weapons system (read nuclear) would mean the possibility of using it for compellent purposes - that is forcing the other side to accept Israeli political demands, which presumably include a demand that the traditional status quo be accepted and a peace treaty signed." From a slightly different perspective, Robert Tuckerr asked in a Commentary magazine article in defense of Israeli nukes, "What would prevent Israel... from pursuing a hawkish policy employing a nuclear deterrent to freeze the status quo?"

.....Another major use of the Israeli bomb is to compel the U.S. to act in Israel's favor, even when it runs counter to its own strategic interests. As early as 1956 Francis Perrin, head of the French A-bomb project wrote "We thought the Israeli Bomb was aimed at the Americans, not to launch it at the Americans, but to say, 'If you don't want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us;  otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs.'" During the 1973 war, Israel used nuclear blackmail to force Kissinger and Nixon to airlift massive amounts of military hardware to Israel. The Israeli Ambassador, Simha Dinitz, is quoted as saying, at the time, "If a massive airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I will know that the U.S. is reneging on its promises and...we will have to draw very serious conclusions..."  Just one example of this strategy was spelled out in 1987 by Amos Rubin, economic adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who said "If left to its own Israel will have no choice but to fall back on a riskier defense which will endanger itself and the world at large... To enable Israel to abstain from dependence on nuclear arms calls for $2 to 3 billion per year in U.S. aid." ....

....It is clear from Israel Shahak that Israel has no interest in peace except that which is dictated on its own terms, and has absolutely no intention of negotiating in good faith to curtail its nuclear program or discuss seriously a nuclear-free Middle East,"Israel's insistence on the independent use of its nuclear weapons can be seen as the foundation on which Israeli grand strategy rests." 

According to Seymour Hersh, "the size and sophistication of Israel's nuclear arsenal allows men such as Ariel Sharon to dream of redrawing the map of the Middle East aided by the implicit threat of nuclear force." ....  Ze'ev Shiff, an Israeli military expert writing in Haaretz said, "Whoever believes that Israel will ever sign the UN Convention prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons... is day dreaming," and Munya Mardoch, Director of the Israeli Institute for the Development of Weaponry, said in 1994, "The moral and political meaning of nuclear weapons is that states which renounce their use are acquiescing to the status of Vassal states. All those states which feel satisfied with possessing conventional weapons alone are fated to become vassal states."

.....  Seymour Hersh warns, "Should war break out in the Middle East again,...  or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability."  Ezar Weissman, Israel's current President said "The nuclear issue is gaining momentum (and the)  next war will not be conventional." Russia and before it the Soviet Union has long been a major (if not the major) target of Israeli nukes.  It is widely reported that the principal purpose of Jonathan Pollard's spying for Israel was to furnish satellite images of Soviet targets and other super sensitive data relating to U.S. nuclear targeting strategy.  (Since launching its own satellite in 1988, Israel no longer needs U.S. spy secrets.)  Israeli nukes aimed at the Russian heartland seriously complicate disarmament and arms control negotiations and, at the very least, the unilateral possession of nuclear weapons by Israel is enormously destabilizing, and dramatically lowers the threshold for their actual use, if not for all out nuclear war.

       Seymour Hersh sites other threats in The Samson Option.  Referring to the U.S. failure to support Israel's invasion of Egypt in 1956, including in the face of nuclear threats from the Soviet Union, one unnamed former Israeli official told Hersh in the late 1980s: "You Americans screwed us...We got the message. We can still remember the smell of Auschwitz and Treblinka.  Next time we'll take all of you with us."

        Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army writes extensively in a USAF Counterproliferation Center paper on Israel's nuclear history and its threats to use weapons in The Third Temple's Holy Of Holies: Israel's Nuclear Weapons   As the Israeli bomb comes out of the basement, open discussion, even in Israel, is occurring on why the Israelis feel they need an arsenal not used in at least two if not three wars. [Israeli arms specialist] Avner Cohen states: "It [Israel] must be in a position to threaten another Hiroshima to prevent another holocaust." In July 1998 Shimon Peres was quoted in the Jordan Times as saying, "We have built a nuclear option, not in order to have a Hiroshima, but to have an Oslo," referring to the peace process [with the Palestinians].

 (See original books and articles for footnotes and sources.)


     Obviously, unofficial threats can be more explicit and more threatening than those issued by politicians -- especially those below which were published in credible publications like the Los Angeles Times or WorldNetDaily, and even those published by extremists like those at Masada2000.Org.  (And such extremists are very powerful in Israel's political system.) Those issuing these threats obviously feel no fear of criticism or ostracism by either the Jewish or gentile communities, something which makes them more frightening.

      In April 2002 Jewish academic David Perlmutter in the Los Angeles Times inferred Israel under some circumstances would launch revenge attacks against targets worldwide: "Israel has been building nuclear weapons for 30 years. The Jews understand what passive and powerless acceptance of doom has meant for them in the past, and they have ensured against it. Masada was not an example to follow--it hurt the Romans not a whit, but Sampson in Gaza? With an H-bomb? What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens?
"For the first time in history, a people facing extermination while the world either cackles or looks away--unlike the Armenians, Tibetans, World War II European Jews or Rwandans--have the power to destroy the world. The ultimate justice?" 

        The same month Senator John McCain's brother Joe wrote a piece called NEVER AGAIN which began with the statement:  There is a lot of worry popping up in the media just now -- "Can Israel Survive?" Don't worry about it. It relates to something that Palestinians, the Arabs, and perhaps most Americans don't realize -- the Jews are never going quietly again. Never. And if the world doesn't come to understand that, then millions of Arabs are going to die. It's as simple as that.

       In September 2003 Tom Ambrose, commentary editor of WorldNetDaily, made a similar veiled threat as the last sentence of an article called "Big, bad Israel?" attacking libertarians for daring to question Israel's right to keep confiscated land and commit other human rights violations.  In light of this key role in which Israel helps guarantee U.S. security, it is small wonder why so many people foam at the mouth in hope of the appalling myopia on this matter is inexcusable. (And they wonder why Americans are reluctant to vote them into office?) For if the day should ever arrive that Israel is destroyed by its enemies, the U.S. will surely and shortly thereafter meet its own demise.
 issues the following screed:  SHARE THE PAIN The Wrath of God ! 

Israel Has Nuclear Weapons and MUST Use Them and All Those Arming the Arabs Must Share the Pain!
    Israel must notify each of the Arab nations and their Western backers that, if Israel is attacked or is about to be attacked with unconventional weapons (or overwhelming conventional forces), there will be a "Share the Pain" response...
    Therefore, Israel would be wise to notify each country that, either pre-emptively or as a vicious second-strike option, Israel will hit all hostile parties with nuclear weapons, regardless of who launched the first attack. Israel will hold all collectively and severally responsible - as if they had met and conspired together.
    ...One hundred or 200 nukes will reduce the hostile cities and army sites of the Middle East to rubble in minutes. Of course, the ensuing debris would also envelope those nations who sold the Arab world the weapons of nightmares. After all, they enjoyed the money and clearly understood that what they were selling was to be targeted at Israel.
    Perhaps with a dedicated and credible deterrence, the Europeans selling weapons will make some effort, along with American Arabists, to have the Arab nations stand down their plans which call for the destruction of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic State....
    Prof. Martin Van Crevel, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, recently put it this way... “Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third.  Israel has the capability of hitting most European capitals with nuclear weapons.  We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that this will happen before Israel goes under.”
     In further context, Martin Van Crevel told interviewer Ferry Biedermann in Jerusalem in a widely quoted interview: "We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force".... Asked if he was worried about Israel becoming a rouge state if it carried out a genocidal deportation against Palestinians, Crevel quoted former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother." Crevel argued that Israel wouldn't care much about becoming a rouge state. "Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that this will happen before Israel goes under."

     The Israelis are supported and egged on in their expansionism and intransigence by the "Armageddon Lobby," thirty million "Christian Zionists" who believe Israel must expand to its Biblical borders in order to bring on Armageddon and the return of Jesus Christ.   Many believe they will be "taken" to heaven before they have to suffer in the nuclear apocalypse that follows, some that they will be among the select few raised from the dead.  Of course, all believe that all Jews who do not convert to Jesus will perish. Some believe that two-thirds of Jews must die for prophecy to be fulfilled. Those right wing expansionist Jews who recognize the Biblical reasons for Christian Zionist's real fervor ignore the obvious anti-semitism of their religious views as long as it serves Israel's purposes.
      For an extensive list of articles about the Armageddon Lobby see the web page "Armageddon Lobby -- trying to hurry up God - Sharon's 'Christian' Muscle"  Some article titles include: “Some Fundamentalists Ache for Armageddon,” "War as the Will of God,” “The Unannounced Reason Behind American Fundamentalism's Support for the State of Israel."  Most unsettling are a series of articles under the title “Is Bush One of Them?” such as “Bush's Armageddon Obsession" and “Bush's Messiah Complex.”
       Michael Ortiz Hill in Counterpunch describes Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's book Bush at War: Woodward writes: "Most presidents have high hopes. Some have grandiose visions of what they will achieve, and he was firmly in that camp... 'To answer these attacks and rid the world of evil,'" says Bush. And again, '"'We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of this great nation.' Grandiose visions." Woodward comments, "The president was casting his mission and that of the country in the grand vision of God's Master Plan."
     During the 1967 Six Day War Israeli aircraft and gunboats repeatedly bombed and strafed the unarmed, U.S. flag flying intelligence ship the USS Liberty for 75 minutes, killing 34 Americans and wounding another 170 -- and almost sinking the ship. Survivors continue to claim vehemently that this was no case of mistaken identity, as both the U.S. and Israeli governments insist.
     An interesting nuclear theory is outlined in the article USS Liberty: How past relates to the future by Linda S. Heard which is about the BBC4's Fall 2003 documentary broadcast "USS Liberty Dead in the Water".  
"Dead in the Water's" shocking suggestion that Israel may have pre-planned a deliberate bombardment of an American ship by air and sea - so as to bring the Americans on board their cause, assuming they would believe that Egypt was behind the attack - we learned how close the Middle East came to nuclear devastation on that warm June day.
     After Liberty's astonished crew managed to send out an SOS signal using a makeshift antenna, a U.S fleet of war some 500 miles away received an order to dispatch two nuclear-armed fighter jets to exact a terrible retribution on Cairo.
     These were recalled by the then U.S. Defence Secretary literally minutes before they could drop their deadly nuclear load. In usual American double-standard style when it comes to the Mid-East, Israel escaped coming under a similar threat when it was discovered to be the perpetrator.  In fact, the case was closed by order of President Lyndon B. Johnson even though he personally doubted Israel's version of events.

ISRAEL NUCLEAR TIMELINE - From Various Sources Mentioned Herein

Also see:
An End to Ambiguity: US Counter-Proliferation from Tel Aviv to Tehran

1949:  French and Israel atomic researchers start to exchange information. Israeli Defence Force Science Corps begins two year geological survey of the Negev desert in search of recoverable Uranium. 

1952:  Israeli Atomic Energy Commission is created. Its chairman, Ernst David Bergmann of Israel's Weizman Institute of Science, "the father of Israel's bomb," has been promoting nuclear armed missiles for Israel since arriving after World War II. Newly elected President Eisenhower will refuse to sell arms to Israel during his two terms, ending in 1960.  France sells them to Israel from 1955 to 1967. 

1955: Under Atoms for Peace program, overseen by pro-Israel Lewis Stauss who was head of America's Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. helps fund a small Israeli nuclear research reactor. Strauss learned about Dimona and its purpose before the U.S. government but did not inform the U.S. government.

1953:  Israeli researchers perfect a process for extracting Uranium, and developing a new method of producing heavy water, which is a key ingredient in the process.  Hundreds of millions of dollars will be raised to build Israel's nuclear bomb over the next twenty years, mostly from American Jews; effort is led by Abraham Feinberg who financially backs both Presidents Truman and Johnson, as well as presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. (John F. Kennedy accepts his money but is incensed by the pro-Israel lobbying.)

1956: France and Israel formally and secretly agree to build a nuclear reactor in the Negev desert.  Britain, France and  Israel invade Egypt (Suez Canal crisis) and the Soviet Union threatens to use rockets against them if they do not desist, leading to a cease-fire.  U.S. begins U-2 spy flights over targets world wide, including Israel.

1957: France and Israel sign a revised agreement calling for France to build a 24 MWt reactor; unwritten was the agreement to build a plutonium reprocessing plant.

1958: Israel breaks ground at Dimona, with assistance of French scientists and contractors, and U-2 spy planes provide evidence Israelis are building nuclear plant there.

1960: Israeli scientists witness first French atomic explosion in South Pacific. French President Charles DeGaulle threatens to cut off reactor fuel if Israel doesn't accept international inspections, but eventually accepts Israel's assertions Dimona is only for peaceful purposes and work continues.  United States intelligence leaks to the press that Israel is building a secret nuclear facility that will eventually produce a nuclear bomb.  Israel admits this to its Parliament and world but claims it is only for peaceful purposes.

1961:  President Kennedy makes the man who leaked Israel's bomb to the press head of the CIA.  Kennedy is very opposed to Israel having the bomb and tells Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion so in many letters and in meeting in New York about the purpose of Dimona.  Ben-Gurion tells him its purpose is peaceful and refuses to allow international inspections.  Israel launches its first rocket.

1962:  Ben-Gurion allows inspections by American inspectors only in return for sales of Hawk surface-to-air missiles.  Israel builds a fake control room and bricks off parts of buildings to hide from inspectors the true size and purpose of the reactor (three times bigger than admitted) and that it was connected to a plutonium reprocessing plant; this feint continues during seven such inspections until they end in 1969. Reactor at Dimona goes into operation.

1963:  Kennedy refuses to sign any security arrangement with Israel.  After Kennedy assassination brings the very pro-Israel Lyndon Johnson to power.  (Not surprisingly there is an assassination conspiracy theory that the Mossad killed Kennedy.)

1964: Dimona plutonium processing plant goes online.  In first official visit by an Israeli Prime Minister (Eshkol) to Washington, Johnson promises Israel offensive fighter jetst and other weapons if it refrains from producing nuclear weapons. Israel's Eshkol eventually agrees to Johnson's terms and holds off on producing the bomb.  China explodes first nuclear bomb.

1965: Israel performs its first plutonium extraction, and France assists Israel in developing its Jericho missiles.

1966:  U.S. begins fighter jet and arms shipments to Israel. Johnson discourages further reports on Israel nuclear situation from U.S. embassy in Israel. Israel refuses money for nuclear desalination plant which is tied to international inspections of Dimona.

1967: Six Day War when Israel pre-emptively attacks an Egyptian military buildup in the Sinai Peninsula.  Israel attacks USS Liberty surveillance vessel, killing 34 sailors; (see BBC allegation below that Israelis wanted to instigate a U.S. nuclear attack on Cairo).  Soviet Union supports Arabs militarily, sends ships to the region and breaks diplomatic ties with Israel.  Americans unofficially inform Israel that the Soviet Union has put four Israeli cities on its nuclear target list.

1968:  Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, believing Israel cannot depend on the U.S. to defend it, unilaterally orders full production of nuclear weapons, averaging four to twelve per year, depending on size.  Israel illicitly imports two hundred tons of uranium.

1969:  President Richard Nixon takes office and fully supports Israel's nuclear weapons, as does his National Security chief Henry Kissinger. Ends American inspections at Dimona and shares some nuclear targeting information about the Soviet Union. CIA tries to inform President Johnson about Dimona, but he brushes off information, signs Nonproliferation Treaty, and sends Israel advanced Phantom fighter jets. 

1973: Israelis catch Soviet spy ring in high levels of Israeli government and make it clear to Soviets they have produced "suitcase nukes" they could sneak into Russia.  Egypt and Syria attack unprepared Israeli forces in Sinai and Golan Heights on the Jewish fast in Yom Kippur War. Israel goes on nuclear alert and begins to ready nuclear weapons for actual use, forcing the U.S. to airlift them weapons and to start redeploying nuclear armed ships and airplanes.  When Soviets started talking about sending in Russian troops, Israel again goes on nuclear alert.  Washington pressures Israel to accept a cease-fire.

1974: Defense Minister Dayan visits South Africa to discuss testing a nuclear weapon there.

1975: Israel receives nuclear-capable Lance missiles from the United States, even as U.S. remains in official denial about Israel having nuclear weapons.

1976:  South Africa's Prime Minister visits Israel to sign several nuclear and other agreements.

1977: Menachem Begin's right wing expansionist Likud Party takes power in Israel and is determined with reshape Middle East to suit Israel's needs, including through using the nuclear threat.  Commits to nuclear targeting of even more cities in the Soviet Union.  President Carter does not take on the issue, despite conducting Camp David peace talks between Egypt and Israel.

1979: President Carter provides Israel ability to see American spy satellite photos for defense purposes only, but Israelis manage to get them for pre-emptive strikes against Middle East and Russia.  Israel and South Africa explode first nuclear bomb in South Indian Ocean but appointed U.S. committee refuses to conclude it was a nuclear explosion.

1981: Israel, using U.S. spy satellite photos, sends F-16s to bomb and destroy Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction at Osirak. U.S. strictly limits further access to spy photos.  Defense Minister Ariel Sharon recruits American Navy employee Jonathan Pollard as a spy to obtain satellite photos plus massive amounts of other classified information about Israel's enemies, some of which Israel turns over to the Soviet Union to try to win over its adversary. Ariel Sharon talks President Reagan into a formal Israel-U.S. military alliance against the Soviet Union but Defense Chief Weinberger delays and sabotages it.

1982: Under Ariel Sharon's military leadership, Israel invades Lebanon to attack Palestinian militants as first part of plan to drive Palestinians into Jordan, using the threat of nuclear weapons to intimidate any adversaries.  However, despite destroying Beruit and killing more than ten thousand Arabs and 500 Israelis, Sharon's efforts in Lebanon fail. Israel eventually withdraws and Sharon loses his position.

1985: Jonathan Pollard captured leaving office with stolen papers.  Eventually sentenced to life in prison.

1986: Mordechai Vanunu, a disaffected Dimona technician who left with photographs and other evidence of nuclear weapons production, publishes details in the London Sunday Times newspaper; reveals Israel has over 100 nuclear weapons. Israel starts disinformation campaign then lures him to Italy where he is kidnaped, taken to Israel and imprisoned for 18 years.  He was released in spring of 2004 and remains under house arrest because of his continuing contact with the media.

1987: Israel test-fires a Jericho 2 missile capable of carrying a nulcear weapon.  UN General Assembly and the IAEA General Conference passes first of more than a dozen resolutions calling on Israel to join the Nonproliferation Treaty.

1988: Israel launches its first spy satellite into orbit.

1991:  U.S. convinces Israel to refrain from attacking Iraq with nuclear weapons, even if Iraq uses chemical or biological weapons against it, but Israel's nuclear weapons remain on alert.

1999: US Department of Energy document ranks Israel sixth among countries with nuclear weapons.

2000: Knesset debates Israel's nuclear weapons program for first time.  Germany sells Israel three state-of-the-art 800-class Dolphin submarines and Israel tests first submarine-launched missile in the area of the Indian Ocean.  Ariel Sharon is elected Prime Minister of Israel, still intending to use nuclear weapons to bully other nations and remake the Middle East for the benefit of Israel.  George Bush is elected in the United state and his neoconservative allies fully intend that the United States help Sharon fulfill that mission.  Right wing Israelis begin freely talking about attacking other nations, including with nuclear weapons.

2001: Bush inflames Arabs by clearly taking sides with Israel's expansionist aims, part of the reason for the September 11 attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.  He obsesses about attacking Iraq, not defending America against known Al Queda terrorists.  Starts planning war against Iraq after September 11 attacks, including option of using nuclear weapons.

2002:  George Bush gives Israel the go-ahead to use nuclear weapons against Iraq if Saddam attacks Israel before the American invasion of Iraq. Pentagon Office of Special Plans uses information from Iraqi dissidents and Israel's Mossad to convince Americans that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that are an imminent threat against America.  Israel launches Ofek-5 satellite with a powerful new inter-continental missile.

2003:  Israel repeatedly demands sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program and threatens to bomb Iran's operating nuclear power plant, despite Iran's threats to retaliate hard against Israel.  Russia may have sold Iran additional advanced missiles capable of shooting down Israeli bomber and fighter jets. Russian President Putin proposes Security Council formally call for establishment of a Palestinian state and arrests last of the Jewish "oligarchs" who bought state industries for pennies on the dollar under Yeltsin.  Arab and other nations repeatedly ask that Israel nuclear facilities come under international inspections. So does the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed el-Baradei. United Nations General Assembly passes resolution that Israel join the nonproliferation treaty by a vote of 164-4. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tells Israeli newspaper that Israel will not dismantle its “special measures” because the U.S. will not remain in the Middle East forever.

2004: Israel buys two more German submarines for delivering nuclear tipped cruise missiles, making a total of five.  Mordechai Vanunu's prison term ending spring 2004.


In anti-nuclear activist John Steinbach's year 2000 lengthy article
Israeli Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Threat to Peace Steinbach makes a good case for making Israel nuclear weapons central to nuclear disarmament.

Many Middle East Peace activists have been reluctant to discuss, let alone challenge, the Israeli monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, often leading to incomplete and uninformed analyses and flawed action strategies. Placing the issue of Israeli weapons of mass destruction directly and honestly on the table and action agenda would have several salutary effects.

First, it would expose a primary destabilizing dynamic driving the Middle East arms race and compelling the region's states to each seek their own "deterrent."

Second, it would expose the grotesque double standard which sees the U.S. and Europe on the one hand
condemning Iraq, Iran and Syria for developing weapons of mass destruction, while simultaneously protecting and enabling the principal culprit. Third, exposing Israel's nuclear strategy would focus international public attention, resulting in increased pressure to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and negotiate a just peace in good faith.

Finally, a nuclear free Israel would make a Nuclear Free Middle East and acomprehensive regional peace agreement much more likely. Unless and until the world community confronts Israel over its covert nuclear program it is unlikely that there will be any meaningful resolution of the Israeli/Arab conflict, a fact that Israel may be counting on as the Sharon era dawns.



Daily News Updates at

Center for Defense Information's Database on Israel's Nuclear Weapons

Federation of American Scientists' Israel Special Weapons Guide and  Overview of Israel's Nuclear Weapons

Center for Nonproliferation Studies Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East: Israel

MSNBC's feature on "Strategic Israel: The Arsenal of an Undeclared Nuclear Power"

Global Security on Israel Nuclear Weapons

Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu's Home Page Devoted to Ridding Israel and Middle East of Nuclear Weapons

Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army USAF Counterproliferation Center paper The Third Temple's Holy Of Holies: Israel's Nuclear Weapons  (also at Federation of American Scientists)

John Steinbach 
Israeli Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Threat to Peace Israel's Nuclear Weapons

Global Reseach's The Dangers of Nuclear War includes good Israel Links

The Globalist on Mr. Bush and Israel's Nuclear Weapons

Harold Hough In Janes Weekly
 Could Israel's nuclear assets survive a pre-emptive strike?

The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, Seymour Hersh [New York,1991, Random House]

Dimona, The Third Temple:The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation by Mark Gaffney  [Brattleboro, VT, 1989, Amana Books]

Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies by Israel Shahak  [London, 1997, Pluto Press]
Israel and the Bomb by Avner Cohen [New York, NY, 1998, Columbia University Press] See excerpts, original documents, lists of principle players, links.
NEWS LINKS - Do A News.Google.Com Search to keep up on latest news and opinion on 
Israeli Nuclear Weapons
Vanunu News

Israel Seeks to Silence Nuclear Whistleblower Vanunu About to Be Released From Prison
Vanunu is Free - April 2004

Vanunu Speaks on Israeli Nukes, Kennedy Assassination
Vanunu Speaks on Democracy Now!
Israel arrests Vanunu again as it plans for war with Iran - March 2005

Israel weighs expanding navy to protect its nukes
Israeli navy in Indian Ocean
Israel Expands Its Nuclear Threat Thanks To German “Donation” of Dolphin Subs
Israel Launches Spy Satellite
International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] Urges Israel urged to destroy nuclear arms 
If Israel can ignore the IAEA, why should anyone else listen?
Critics want Israel to admit, abolish its nuclear program

Israeli Nuclear Arsenal a Mystery to UN Watchdog

Israel: Washington backs Middle East’s nuclear outlaw

Sharon Hints that Israel Has Nuclear Deterrent

Sharon: US wants Israel to Have Nukes

New Details How Close Israel Brought World To Nuke War, 1973


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