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24 May, 2010 22:46

Israel tried to sell nukes to South Africa in 1970s – report

Documents uncovered by an American academic reportedly contain the first official evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper has published the declassified papers showing that back in the 1970s Tel Aviv offered to sell atomic warheads to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The man who revealed the documents, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, senior editor at the Foreign Affairs Magazine at the Council on Foreign Relations, told RT that he will challenge anyone in the Israeli administration who refutes his findings.

He explained to RT what exactly these documents show.

“The documents reveal that high-level discussions took place between South African defense officials and Israeli defense officials at the end of March 1975. And four days after that, on April 3, 1975, Shimon Peres, then the Defense Minister of Israel, and P. W. Botha, then the Defense Minister of South Africa, signed an agreement on secrecy relating to all military and nuclear relations between the two countries,” he said.

“Now, the other thing that happened on March 31st, 1975 that, taken together with the minutes from the meeting, was a memo written by the South African Chief of Staff to his superiors in the defense force outlining the importance of nuclear weapons to South Africa’s defense strategy with a specific focus on the Jericho missile system. Now, if you look at these two documents together, minutes from a meeting between high-level Israeli defense officials and their South African counterparts and then a memo written the same day, and then 3 days later – secrecy agreement between the defense ministers of the two countries: you put these together, and what you see is a picture of a discussion of potential transfer of nuclear weapons.”

Polakow-Suransky added, “I want to be very clear about what this does not show. This deal never came to fruition, it was never completed, the South Africans thought it was too expensive, and they were also developing their own independent nuclear program at the time. However, there is no denying that President Peres was present at some of these meetings, and that his signature is on this document. And I would challenge President Peres and anyone in the Israeli government to deny the signature on April 3rd, 1975 agreement.”

“However this does not show that there was an explicit offer to transfer nuclear materials made by Peres himself. The discussion did take place, the South Africans took it very, very seriously, seriously enough for their Chief of Staff to send it up to his superiors and talk about the benefits of nuclear weapons for South Africa.”

Read also – Documents Show that Israel Has Nuclear Weapons (and Tried to Sell Them)