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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

National Conference To Discuss Nuclear Dangers and the Future of the Nonproliferation Treaty

Cairo AL-AHRAM AL-DUWALI, 13 Feb 95
by Muhammad Ta'imah
Since the peoples of the Arab nation want a just and lasting peace that will provide them with permanent rights, it is important to eliminate the factors preventing this. Among the most prominent of these factors, certainly, is the security imbalance among the region's nations. One of the most obvious examples of this is Israel's attempts to retain its nuclear weapons and to further develop them so that the anticipated agreements will be executed in its favor under the shadow of these weapons that threaten the existence of the Arab nation and all the peoples of the region.

The Arab nation's peoples want to achieve equivalent security and a just peace and establish relations with other countries on the basis of mutual interests. In keeping with this, a number of organizations and research centers have begun to call for establishment of a communications network for civil and nongovernmental organizations under the title "Cooperation for Security, Peace, and Nuclear Disarmament" [exact English title not verified] in order to continue working toward this goal. These organizations have agreed to call for mounting a worldwide campaign to be accompanied by discussion of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's coming into force and review. The campaign will be designed to reach a peak as the conference about the treaty is being convened between 17 April and 12 May of this year in New York.

There is no doubt that participation by the nongovernmental organizations in various parts of the world as this important issue is being raised is an opportunity to bring the issue of Israel's possession of nuclear weapons to the attention of world public opinion. It can also serve to convince the organizations in various countries and continents of the dangers arising from Israel's rejection of this treaty and its refusal to subject its nuclear facilities to the inspection regimen that the International Atomic Energy Agency follows, while all Arab nations are committed to implementing the provisions of this agreement and to refraining from production, acquisition, and proliferation of these weapons.

In the midst of sweeping popular support for Egypt's official position on extending the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty [sic], the "National Conference on Nuclear Risks and the Future of the Nonproliferation Treaty" was convened in the meeting hall of al-Ahram's new building. It was organized by the Egyptian Bajwash [not further identified; transliterated as in text; alternative spellings are Bagwash or Pajwash or Pagwash] group and the Afro-Asiatic Peoples Solidarity Organization [English title of group not verified] in cooperation with the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

Support For The Egyptian Negotiator

Over a period of six hours, the conference held five sessions, during which an elite group of politicians, university professors, military experts, and strategic researchers spoke. Participated in by a number of top intellectuals, journalists, and Egyptian and Arab diplomats, the discussions were lively and demonstrated the great interest in this sensitive and serious issue. The participants emphasized their strong support for the Egyptian negotiator and the efforts aimed at establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, Africa, the Mediterranean, and elsewhere to promote nonproliferation of these weapons. They also rejected the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's indefinite extension.

The opening session was chaired by former Health Minister Dr. Mahmud Mahfuz, who said, "I welcome you in a month of struggle, the struggle of the soul and the nuclear struggle we are in." Dr. 'Abd al-Mun'im Sa'id, head of the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, spoke, emphasizing the importance of this meeting. He said, "We are facing an important issue for Egyptian and Arab national security that has engaged the public's attention. It is a major concern. The importance of this subject may have been the motivation behind this large gathering." Noting that the Taba issue was one of the major challenges that had faced Egypt, he said, "We now are facing an important challenge and a difficult balancing act." He expressed the hope that this meeting would play an important part in responding to Egyptian intellectuals and that it will be a means for proposing initiatives and suggestions regarding this important topic."

Dr. Mufid Shehab, president of Cairo University, speaking about the foundations of the Egyptian position on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said, "Egypt's concern with the issue of nuclear weapons in the region is not new or unexpected, nor does it have anything to do with political considerations or alleged intentions toward one party or another. Egypt was among the original nations who participated in debating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty before it was submitted for signature in 1968. It was also among the first countries to sign it at that time. Whatever has been said from time to time about the motives for signing, it is a fact that Egypt agreed by acceding to the treaty to voluntarily renounce at that early date any nonpeaceful nuclear intentions. It had hoped that the same would be true for all the region's nations, especially Israel, who at that time was the only country in the region to possess nuclear capabilities. However, this did not happen, as Israel did not sign the treaty. It did not want its nuclear capability to be restricted. Years passed after the treaty was submitted for signature, and it became effective in 1970. There was no change in the nuclear situation in the Middle East region. It was apparent at that time that the treaty would result in the opposite of what it had been designed to do, as Egypt's and the Arab nations' agreement to restrict their nuclear capability was not accompanied by any pressure on Israel to agree to sign the treaty."

Dr. Shehab added that a few years later came the next, more important step in Egypt's policy toward the region's nuclear problem. In 1974, Egypt and Iran submitted a proposal to establish a nuclear-free weapons zone in the Middle East. Iran subsequently abandoned its interest in the issue of ridding the region of nuclear weapons, leaving Egypt as the sole sponsor of this issue for many years. In this stage, Egypt wanted to make this concept a lasting one, so that the "Nuclear-Free-Weapons Zone" would be the primary scenario being proposed for dealing with this problem. Although Egypt was well aware of the difficulty associated with converting this idea into reality, not least through its own experience in dealing with the problem during the peace negotiations with Israel in the late 1970's, it insisted on emphasizing its positions about it, then on continuing to propose it, and finally on developing it to conform with the changing climate in the region. This has become clear in several matters, the most important of which are:

Egypt's having ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1981 to become a full party to it, in spite of a movement at that time warning about taking this step with Israel remaining outside the treaty;

Egypt's having worked during the 1980's for the UN General Assembly to issue the annual resolution about establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East to become a major international document since that time;

Egypt's having further developed its concepts about the Middle East in 1990 toward the goal of ridding the region of weapons of mass destruction--the Mubarak initiative-- when Iraqi president Saddam Husayn threatened to use chemical weapons.

Israel's Alleged Fears

Dr. Mufid Shehab indicated that the Egyptian position on the atomic weapons issue took on a new dimension when the process of finding a peaceful settlement to the Arab- Israeli conflict began. Israel was alleging during the 1970's that ridding the region of nuclear weapons should be done through direct negotiations between the parties to the conflict. It was also claiming that the negotiations should include all direct parties to the conflict, in addition to stating its alleged fears of Libyan and Iraqi nuclear activities. The circumstances were very propitious when the peace process began in 1991 for several reasons. Among them was that the peace process was based on direct negotiations between the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, whether on the level of bilateral or multilateral negotiations, and that all direct parties to the conflict joined the peace process without exception. It was evident that Libya's nuclear aspirations had ended some years earlier and that Iraq's nuclear program had also ended through the international inspection operations.

He said, "The circumstances were conducive, therefore, to putting the nuclear problem on the table for negotiation. Egypt in fact called on Israel to inscribe it in the multilateral negotiations' agenda during the first round of the Arms Control and Regional Security committee, but Israel refused adamantly. Israeli officials indicated in the subsequent stage that they were agreeable to an understanding about the nuclear problem in the region, but only after the peace process became firmly established. Because the peace process had not stabilized after 1992, Egypt chose not to focus wholly on this issue, although it continued to bring it up as an enduring Egyptian policy line. When the issue of signing the chemical weapons treaty in 1992 was raised, the Egyptian position of `linkage' emerged clearly, as Egypt refused to sign this treaty unless Israel signed the nuclear weapons treaty." Dr. Shehab stated that Egypt was not against the chemical weapons treaty; in fact, it participated in drafting it and emphasized in various ways that it would be committed to its contents, but it wanted to try to rectify matters that had become unbalanced many years ago.

Dr. Shehab concluded his talk by saying, "Peace in the Middle East has arrived at a stage in which it is necessary to tackle the problem of Israel's nuclear weapons, as this is a fundamental issue. As for the issue of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it is a step that was preceded by other steps and will be followed by even more."

The Danger's Strategic Dimensions

Military expert Maj. Gen. Ahmad 'Abd al-Halim spoke in the first session, chaired by former National Security Adviser Mr. Muhammad Hafez Isma'il. Dealing with the subject of "the strategic dimensions of the nuclear dangers in the region and their effects on the future of peace and regional security," he indicated that the importance of the Israeli military force lies in its possession of various elements of force, such as the spy satellite program, the antimissile missiles, and other advanced weapons, making it a power to be concerned about. He also noted that Israel was considered a regional nuclear force of a special type, as highly credible reports had indicated since 1986 that it possesses no less than 200 nuclear warheads. He said, "Israel's traditional force is extremely dangerous," and added that Israel is the only state in the world that is pursuing an offensive force.

He said, "Egypt did not raise the issue of Israel's nuclear arsenal when the 1989 Camp David accord was signed, because the treaty between Egypt and Israel was a bilateral treaty and Israel's arsenal at that time was believed to have few warheads." He added that the situation is different now and there is a comprehensive treaty that will decide the size of the arms. He noted that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has five major elements that we must move toward. Among them is one prohibiting nuclear weapons and providing for guarantees through international assurances. He stated that an Arab nation by itself would not be able to produce anything equivalent to the Israeli nuclear force; it would have to be Arab nations working together. He said, "Israel's continuing to stand alone on the nuclear issue will lead to an imposed peace," adding that a defensive deterrent requires no more than a few nuclear warheads.

Israel's Nuclear Intentions

Muhammad 'Abd al-Sallam, a researcher at the al-Ahram newspaper's Center for Political and Strategic Studies, focused in his paper on responding to a particular question: Can there be true regional security in the region if there are nuclear weapons in it? He said, "One of the major goals of the process toward a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is creating a more secure strategic environment that is less conducive to producing political and psychological elements of instability."

He noted that the Middle East region is witnessing the relationships of an unbalanced nuclear power, as a single nation, Israel, that alone possesses nuclear weapons, is confronting nonnuclear nations, none of whom are on the threshold of becoming nuclear following the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear program. Therefore, the region is witnessing a situation in which there are "unrestrained nuclear weapons," with no precise rules for their use. He also indicated that the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal raises various issues, including the issue of what is enough. According to the estimates of the Israeli academician Shay Feldman, Israel has between 30 and 40 strategic nuclear bombs with between 20 and 60 kilotons of power, enough to destroy all of Israel's presumed targets in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, and Saudi Arabia and send these countries back into the Middle Ages. Thus, Israel's possessing considerably more than it needs raises many issues, the most important of which is "Israel's nuclear intentions." The final deterrent does not require more than a small number of strategic warheads. Muhammad 'Abd al-Sallam said, "Credible reports indicate that Israel has several types of nuclear warheads, including 20- and 10-kiloton atom bombs, 200-kiloton hydrogen bombs, tactical weapons, artillery rocket warheads, and possibly nuclear mines." He added that this provokes various questions, as the multiplicity of types of nuclear warheads gives Israel options for their use that go well beyond final deterrence. The Samson option is not the only choice available to Israel. In addition, the existence of these different types might in moments of pressure give some of Israel's leaders worrisome ideas about actual offensive, combat uses of nuclear weapons. There are those who believe that this has already happened. Furthermore, the existence of these various small-caliber nuclear warheads, in particular, puts the concept of Israel's "nuclear security line" in question.

The paper presented by Ahmad al-Najjar, a researcher at the AL-AHRAM newspaper's Center for Strategic and Political Studies focused on the fact that normal and preferential economic cooperation between nations that have entered into conflicts and wars with each other requires special political and strategic provisions, not economic ones. He noted that, with regard to the Arabs and Israel, these provisions are completion of the settlement, confidence-building, and acceptance of parity and strategic balance. He noted that the Arab boycott of Israel had resulted in losses estimated by the Israeli Chambers of Commerce Union at $45 billion, equal to about a third of the total foreign aid obtained by Israel from all sources since its founding, which reflects the importance to Israel of ending the Arab boycott.

Establishing Strategic Balance

He said that, if, despite all the wars Israel has mounted against the Arabs, it has still failed to enter the Arab markets with an annual revenue of an estimated $140 billion, then opening these markets to Israel and allowing its entrance into the Arab region's economy within the framework of normal or preferential relations requires confidence-building measures and establishment of strategic parity with the Arabs as a starting point. The first confidence-building measures would be signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and agreeing to the Egyptian president's initiative, which calls for ridding the region of weapons of mass destruction, primarily Israel's atomic weapons. It also requires completion of the peace settlement that will not be just or sustainable over the long haul unless it includes Israel's withdrawal to behind the confrontation lines before the June 1967 war. If Israel does not accept this, the Arab nations must insist on continuing their economic boycott and isolating it from the region's economy.

Nonaligned Efforts

In the second session, chaired by Dr. 'Abd al-Mun'im Sa'id, Dr. Fawzi Hammad, head of the Atomic Energy Agency, reviewed the roots of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the efforts of the Nonaligned nations for this treaty. He said that the idea of ending the use of nuclear weapons and working toward the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes was born immediately following the well-known use of the nuclear weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From this grew the idea of preventing proliferation. Then he went into the UN General Assembly's resolutions of the 1950's about preventing nuclear proliferation, when the General Assembly charged the disarmament committee--composed of 18 nations, including Egypt--with drawing up the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In 1965, the General Assembly again stated the importance of quickly concluding this agreement, and a committee was formed composed of 10 nations, including two nuclear nations, America and the Soviet Union, and eight other nations, including Egypt. It was able to produce this treaty in its current form.

Dr. Hammad pointed out that the Nonaligned nations were able to insert amendments in the treaty. They inserted the paragraph about holding conferences to review the treaty to confirm that the objectives found in its preamble and provisions were being implemented. Then they added an important paragraph stating that a conference would be held in 25 years to consider extending the treaty indefinitely, for a one-time period, or for specified periods. This would be done by a majority of the nations who were parties to the treaty. Meanwhile, the nuclear nations had wanted the treaty to be perpetual from the beginning; however, the development nations felt that there must be an intermediate step to evaluate the treaty's performance, especially since the nuclear nations' obligations under the treaty were not given a timetable.

He then reviewed what had been accomplished by this treaty, explaining that the nuclear nations had so far not been able to conclude a treaty on a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing, although they had announced their intention to do so. It had previously been announced that this treaty would be drafted before the review and extension conference to be held in this coming April, but they had retreated from this and announced that the new date would be 1996 or 1997. He noted that the nonnuclear nations had requested positive assurances in case they were threatened or subjected to attack by nuclear nations, but this had so far not been done.

He said, "The nuclear nations have not fulfilled their commitments to the nonnuclear nations to help with the requirements for use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. If we look at the use of reactors in providing electricity, we find that the developing world nations in Asia, Latin America, and southern Africa have only six per cent of the world's reactors for providing electricity. Thus, in the final estimate, from the point of view of the nonnuclear countries what has been accomplished through the treaty in the last quarter-century is small and does not justify agreeing to extending it indefinitely, especially since this treaty is hard to amend except by the nuclear nations. Extending it indefinitely would make it a treaty for all ages and give it the status of the holy books."

Dr. Hammad added that, in light of the changes in the world since the end of the cold war, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the beginning of limitations on nuclear weapons, the treaty's extension must be for short, specified periods and a timetable should be drawn up for gradually putting into effect the treaty's goals as regards halting production of fissionable elements and nuclear weapons, then reducing their inventory, and finally eliminating them. Included in this program should be the nuclear weapons in the Middle East, namely Israel. He noted that this conference is the first to be held for this purpose; if the treaty is extended indefinitely, the conference will not be held again and, thus, the Nonaligned nations or the nonnuclear nations would lose the tool that they had inserted in the treaty to monitor its progress and the extent of the commitment to implement its provisions.

Dr. Fawzi Hammad emphasized that the Egyptian position should be the seed of an Arab position and that the Arab position should be part of the position of the Nonaligned nations, adding that it is the correct position for preventing nuclear proliferation. He said, "We have been very late in taking advantage of the fourth article. We must work to build a modern nation focusing on science, technology, and a strong economy, with nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, especially electricity and water purification, at its core."

Dr. Ahmad al-Rashidy, professor in Cairo University's economics faculty, spoke, saying that it was noteworthy that the treaty did not have any clear texts about the sanctions that could be imposed on violators of its provisions. He added, "The treaty includes a reference that could be important for us regarding the possibility for the Arab negotiator to insist that we will not enter the peace process unless Israel's position on this treaty is clarified." He said that the treaty referred to the ability of any state to withdraw, and this card could be used. He emphasized the need for us to insist on our position that the treaty should not be extended indefinitely.

Mr. Bahij Nassar, coordinator of the international campaign against nuclear weapons proliferation, rejected the treaty's indefinite extension, saying that a definite time period should be linked to a commitment offered by the countries to begin serious talks. He said, "The importance of this position is that we in the Middle East are trying to disarm Israel," adding, "We think that the extension should be for five, 10, or 15 years, according to the level of commitment to concluding a treaty to prevent the proliferation of atomic weapons." He said, "Our campaign is based on the idea that the conference should begin by discussing the review before making the decision to extend." He added, "We cannot separate our struggle against Israel's nuclear weapons from the international struggle," and noted that "we cannot succeed in imposing the peace that we want on Israel except by reaching Israeli public opinion." He emphasized that "it is not enough for us to discuss our opinions in closed rooms; rather there must be constant contact between Arab and international organizations to persuade them of our view before the conference."

Ambassador 'Umran al-Shafi'i, deputy assistant Foreign Minister, stated, "I represented Egypt in the United Nation's European headquarters in Geneva and also at the Conference on Disarmament, as well as being a member of the UN's advisory council for disarmament and international security issues. I say that eliminating nuclear weapons is an international goal and the Nonproliferation Treaty is one of its stages. Since the first calamity in which the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the international community has insisted on continuing to call for elimination and destruction of nuclear weapons. The international community has taken a step-by-step approach to this, as evidenced by treaties such as the partial ban on nuclear testing, the agreement on establishment of nuclear-free zones, and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which accepted the existence of only five nuclear nations with the aim of working on eliminating nuclear weapons within a general and comprehensive disarmament program under practical supervision."

Despite the end of the cold war and the disappearance of the world's polarization into two competing camps, which led to a decrease in tension, the international community has continued to call for nuclear disarmament, as seen in the call for a total halt to nuclear testing. In addition, the United States and the former Soviet Union arrived at a number of agreements that are working on ending the nuclear and traditional arms race. Moreover, the World Health Organization has requested an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice regarding the legality of the threat to use nuclear weapons. Last year, a group of nonaligned states also put forth the same initiative by directing a question to the International Court of Justice about whether the use of nuclear weapons or the threat of them under any circumstances is permitted by international law. This was part of the continual efforts to tighten the noose around the destructiveness of nuclear weapons. If the Court issues a positive opinion on both of these questions, this will work to shake up the nuclear policies of the governments that possess atomic weapons in the eyes of their people, these people who have emphasized through their nongovernmental organizations that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons is not only illegal and illegitimate, but also immoral.

Ambassador 'Umran al-Shafi'i added that "the real concern that we feel about Israel's possession of nuclear weapons is shared by the world. It must also be considered that Israel alone has this weapon and its lack of accession to the Nonproliferation Treaty and its nonacceptance of inspections of its nuclear installations must be dealt with within the framework of international disarmament efforts as a whole. Finally, our handling of Israel's possession of nuclear weapons must be within the general international framework of eliminating these weapons, and all regional and international mechanisms must remain open to the Arabs and the Israelis in order to arrive at the goal of eliminating the nuclear menace from the region."

Egypt's Best Option

In the third session, chaired by Dr. Muhammad 'Abd al- 'Ilah, chairman of the People's Assembly foreign relations committee, Dr. 'Issam al-Din Jallal spoke about Egypt's options and the Arab situation. Referring to the option of leaving the situation as it was, he said that this choice is not workable because the circumstances of peace have changed. He added that the principal obstacle with regard to the region's security is the Israeli military creed that continues to be based on illegal seizure, expansionism, and restricting the Arabs' potential. He stated that as long as the Israeli military creed continues this way, it is foolhardy to speak of normalization and committing to a position on the treaty, because it is foolish to talk about a voluntary Israeli concession in this regard.

He noted that the option of withdrawing is a legal and legitimate one and that Egypt has excuses to withdraw as a result of incidents that have endangered its national security. He called on Egypt to make its commitment to the treaty conditional on the Security Council and the major parties to the treaty eliminating the risk to which its most important interests are being exposed. He stated that this, in his opinion, is Egypt's best option.

In the fourth session, chaired by former Foreign Minister Dr. Murad Ghaleb, Brig. Gen. Murad al-Dasuqy spoke about Israel's nuclear policy. He said that this policy continues to be extremely vague, adding that Israel has a dilemma. If it announces that it will join the treaty, this will result in an inspection that will expose it as a liar. He noted that there is a dispute within Israeli society about its nuclear policy and further indicated that Israel has not specified the parties to the peace that it is calling for. It wants to involve Iran in the process, and there are those who think Pakistan should be involved. He also dealt with Israel's options for use of nuclear weapons and the extent of the Israeli threat to Egyptian and Arab national security.

Dr. Ridha al-'Adl, head of 'Ayn Shams University's Middle East research center, talked about the history of Israel's nuclear policy and the strategic objectives that these policies [plural in text] employ. These include making the greatest possible gains in the present peace process and hinting at using it to serve any of Israel's national objectives. He said that the policy here is flexible and serves various goals that cannot be achieved by other methods. It is among the sources of Israel's power, he noted, adding that it has become a matter of urgency to establish Egyptian study teams in Israeli nuclear policy and the time has come for the world as a whole to rid itself of atomic weapons, as one of the remnants of the hysteria left over from World War II.

An Open Discussion and Profitable Dialogue

The concluding session was dedicated to an open discussion about the conference and an attempt to predict the future. Ahmad Sidqy al-Dajjany explained that Israel wants to remain the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in order to control the six dimensions of order in the Middle East. He emphasized that there is no substitute for collective security and that there is no room today for there to remain in our region one nation that possesses nuclear weapons.

Dr. 'Izzat 'Abd al-'Aziz, former chief of the Atomic Energy Agency, said, "There is a fact that we must pay attention to: We must act immediately and make the strategic decision to build Egyptian nuclear capabilities. In Egypt, we have a strong nuclear base, as we entered this field more than 35 years ago through the existence of the Atomic Energy Agency, the Nuclear Plants Agency, and the Nuclear Materials Agency. This strong base qualifies us to decide immediately, through an order by President Mubarak, to decline to renew the treaty. Let us strive for Arab scientific nuclear integration. We must work toward building our nuclear capability in order to achieve Arab nuclear integration."

Ahmad Sharaf: "I advise the Egyptian government to link the Egyptian signature to the Israeli signature and to emphasize the nuclear risks of Israel's nuclear power. If Israel insists on not signing, Egypt should announce a policy of selling petroleum to Israel [sic, a negative was apparently dropped here], redeploying Egyptian forces to the outlying regions, including the Sinai, and halting all normalization measures in all fields, excepting only diplomacy. It should begin measures to enter the nuclear stage on the basis that this entry should be an Arab entry and within the framework of the Nonaligned nations." Dr. Muhammad al-Sayyid Sa'id: "First of all, let us put aside the issue of nuclear parity, which could lead to extermination of the Palestinian people in the event of any nuclear exchange. An attempt to possess a nuclear weapon is an extremely expensive matter, and its economic cost is unjustifiable. Furthermore, the attempt by any Arab party to possess nuclear weapons would be an invitation to Israel to attack. Ignoring this possibility out of emotionalism is an invitation to ruin."

Dr. Murad Ghaleb: "North Korea's mere hinting at a withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty subjected it to sanctions. Withdrawal is not easy. The issue is not only one of texts; it is bigger and deeper than that. America's problem is very serious, as Clinton is under the guillotine because of the upcoming elections. This is an extremely delicate stage and Jewish votes are very important."

Bahij Nassar: "American is concerned about Egypt's position because its status is linked to the Nonproliferation Treaty, and the issue of nonproliferation is one of the foundations of American policy. Fifty-four nations have decided to vote for the indefinite extension, and American has only to obtain the agreement of 19 more countries."

Ambassador 'Umran al-Shafi'i: "The door to amendment is not closed. When we get to an article that is not being enforced, we can consider protocols. This will not provoke the nuclear nations when they are dealing with some of the articles. Great discretion and a policy are required." Dr. 'Issam al-Din Jallal: "Korea has not yet and will not submit until it gets what it wants. We must assess the cost of not giving in. I oppose Egypt's choosing of its own will to enter a military nuclear race. We must announce to the world that we will not wager our future on this kind of imbalance. Each society has a will and a choice, and each choice has a price. Can we accept this price or not? The 1973 war was risky; we accepted the price because there was no alternative."

The writer Salah al-Din Hafez: "I agree with Dr. Murad Ghaleb and Dr. 'Issam al-Din Jallal that this seminar must be open to organized Arab action on this issue. First of all, I ask how Israel became the world's sixth nuclear power. It is true that Jewish money and scientists were the pillar of this; however, there is a more important issue and that is that since the founding of Israel the Israeli military creed has crystallized in an extremely clear way.

There was in Israel a politico-security view that determined the risks and took shape in the political will from the end of the 1948 war until the present time. It was focused on dependence on military superiority as the core of superiority; the heart of this superiority is the possession of nuclear weapons, taking advantage of America and South Africa. We had a nuclear program and then renounced it at the first pressure we experienced. Do we now have a definite political will on the issue of nuclear weapons? The task of the research centers is to assist in forming the political will, and this is the responsibility of society as a whole. I have heard that the nuclear race is very costly, but, if we look at the traditional arms race, this might be even more expensive. Since the end of Desert Storm, for example, the Arab nations have spent $63 billion to purchase traditional weapons from the West. This is a frightening amount. Another point is that Israel insists on retaining its nuclear weapons, not only as a military deterrent, but also as a psychological deterrent. I believe that the perception that Israel is the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the region is psychologically humiliating to us as Arabs, even more so than its military and political hegemony."

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