Lawmakers from left and right slam prime minister after says Iran aspires to
obtain nuclear weapons like Israel. MK Beilin: Olmert's astonishing
statement puts his eligibility for premiership in great doubt
Attila Somfalvi YNET Published: 11 December 2006
After the US defense secretary, it was Prime Minister Ehud Olmer t's turn to
dissolve the long-maintained ambiguity surrounding Israel's nuclear
capabilities. As he kicked off his European visit with a stop in Berlin,
Olmert granted an interview to the German SAT1 television network in which
he said that Iran wants nuclear weapons like Israel .
While it remains unclear if this admission was intentional or not, it is a
clear deviation from the 50-plus year old policy of nuclear ambiguity.
Former Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee MK
Yuval Steinitz (Likud) called on Olmert to resign his post following "a
series of problematic security-related slips of the tongue."
A senior cabinet minister told Ynet, however, that there was nothing
exciting about Olmert's statement as "everyone knows what we do have and
what we don't have."
"His unfortunate statement in Germany damages 50 years of Israel's policy of
ambiguity," said MK Steinitz, "and that only joins other irresponsible slips
like the wretched report on the conditions of the kidnapped soldiers. A
prime minister who cannot control his statements on sensitive matters of
security must resign and leave the keys."
Minister: Everyone knows we have nuclear arms
Vice Premier Shimon Peres, a major player in Israel's nuclear program, is
currently in Paris and declined to comment on Olmert's statement.
A senior cabinet minister told Ynet on Monday that he doesn't understand why
there is such a commotion over Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's admission that
Israel has nuclear weapons.
"It's as if the world is hearing about this for the first time," said the
minister. "Everyone knows we have nuclear weapons. Israel has never admitted
to it, but everyone knows what we do have and what we don't have."
Former defense minister and current National Infrastructure Minister
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer also addressed the subject: "Israel has always had a
policy of ambiguity. We have always strived to lead a policy of ambiguity."
Meretz-Yahad Chairman MK Yossi Beilin called Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's
comments Monday on the nuclear issue "reckless bordering on abandon".
"I doubt if this is someone who deserves to serve as prime minister," he
MK Arieh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) addressed the
comment made by PM Olmert confirming that Israel has nuclear weapons.
MK Eldad said that "If Olmert indeed meant to forgo Israel's policy of
ambiguity there should be a clear message to the world from us - if you
don't stop Iran, we will, at any price."
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