There's a country round here, no names mentioned, that not so long ago – really not – acquired atomic weapons and now threatens the peace of the region. It has, 'according to foreign sources' between 150-400 atomic, hydrogen and neutron bombs, enough for the whole Middle East – and for most of the world. How did it get these? "Illegally", as they say: sometimes with forged agreements with colonial powers, sometimes pulling the wool over the eyes of inspectors who came to its atomic reactor, sometimes through lies, and sometimes through "nuclear ambiguity"'.
It isn't modesty that restrains us from naming this state, since it's no secret anyway, but to enable us to think outside the state's embrace, outside the ideology with which it bombards its inhabitants – with the aid of the press, journalists, calculated leaks and the politics of fear. Because the said state believes that it has the sole right, to be a nuclear power, that only its weapons are pure, only its bombs are good and those of the neighbours are dangerous.
The US State department calls countries like these rogue states, bandit states, hoodlums. In truth, who better than the US knows about being a hoodlum state? We can trust them in such matters. And really: this state acquired its reactor in an alliance of the ostracized with a declining colonial power (France), that was sunk deep in one of the most terrible wars of the 20th century – the colonial war against the Algerian people in which hundreds of villages were wiped off the map, two million Algerians were forcibly transferred from their homes and the dead are estimated at 1.5 million.
Later, it was hard to get materials so faithful agents of the state went into action. The uranium for the reactor the state acquired in the 1960's in all kinds of obscure ways – ships disappeared, deliveries were snatched – worth reading about. And later still, when a more reliable source was needed, who came to its aid but South Africa? And so a second alliance of the ostracized was established with the Apartheid regime.
The architect of the nuclear programme worked secretly, in partnership with the eternal ruler, the state's founder. Ministers and scientists objected, they were over-ruled. The money was acquired outside the state's budget. A few years later the architect of the bomb was awarded the Nobel prize for peace. Strange world.
The nuclear state is ostensibly democratic. Yet, its citizens, Arabs and Jews, including those living close to the reactor, have never been privileged to know, for example, where the state disposes of its nuclear waste. They have never been privileged to hear about the safety measures in place at the reactor under whose shadow they live. Technicians and workers at the reactor were subject to experiments such as drinking uranium. Is this the reason for the frequency of cancer among them? The state has never given answers to these questions.
Citizens of the state have never democratically discussed whether they actually want a nuclear bomb. Once, the legendary ruler denied its existence to the Parliament; forty years later, MK Issam Mahoul of (Hadash - Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) was forced to turn to the Supreme Court in order to get a debate on the subject in the Knesset. When he began his speech, all the MK's of the Right wing parties left the plenary.
"Does this Day of Judgement weaponry promise security for the state of Israel? I think not. The world knows that Israel has an arsenal of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons that functions as a stimulus to the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East," said Makhoul. That's what's called civil courage.
In 2003 MK Mahoul asked a question in the Knesset on the basis of detailed research by the Carnegie Foundation that declared that Israel was storing nuclear weapons in Haifa Bay, on Mt Elaboun in the Galilee, and at Kfar Zacharia near Beit Shemesh in the Jerusalem Hills. Makhoul asked whether this was true, but received no answer. Wouldn't you like to know?
And let's not forget: when a nuclear technician dared to disseminate the truth, not to foreign powers but to the citizens of Israel and world public opinion, he was kidnapped, charged with espionage, imprisoned for 18 years, most of them in total isolation. According to all the indications, the prophet of peace of that state, who is also the architect of the atomic bomb, was the one who gave the order to embark on that project of persecution and revenge.
Now the nuclear state is preparing for war because its neighbours in the region also want a nuclear programme. The war plan is promoted by two Israeli Ayatollahs: one plays the piano, rubs shoulders with the wealthy of the world and likes to play with and deal in weapons. The other, is more or less the same, but without the piano, and with a sense of historical (hysterical) destiny. The war is not a war to stop the nuclear threat on our lives, the lives of all the inhabitants of the Middle East. The two Ayatollahs want a war to maintain their monopoly on nuclear weapons, a war for the right to make everyone tremble: Jews, Arabs, Kurds, Iranians, Turks, Greeks, what's the difference.
Let it be clear: this war won't be any nicer if it is carried out under the auspicies of world Superpower No.1, the one which already dropped two unnecessary atomic bombs in 1945 (long live the Cold War!), the superpower that hastened to flaunt its hydrogen bombs, who dropped more bombs (as well as chemical and biological weapons on Vietnam) in its colonial war there than were dropped by all the belligerent parties in entire Second World War: these lines are not written to support those circles among the ruling cliques who doubtless prefer to fight to maintain "strategic superiority", but like to do so under an umbrella provided by their favourite super-power.
Because ordinary people don't have a real umbrella. Umbrellas are only for the rich and powerful. They can fly out of here in a trice when the ground starts to burn under their feet. Ordinary people don't have an umbrella, not only against nuclear weapons but against the decline of the Middle East into an inferno of war and conventional weaponry, into routine, conventional killing. (Ehud Barak promises 500 dead).
Whoever really wants to live in the Middle East has to live with the neighbours. Not under the auspicies of super-powers, or empires, nor under the auspicies of the bomb. Someone doesn't like the neighbours? Problem. This is the place, those are the neighbours. The ruling, corrupt cliques in Israel also aren't popular in the eyes of many, perhaps most, citizens. Has it helped until now? No. But it's worth a try.
The only future for the Middle East lies in a general, complete, mutual disarmament of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. The only future for those living in this country is to live as equals in the Middle East: without superior rights, such as the right to bomb everyone, without the protection of colonial powers old and new, without the protection of empires, without imperial fantasies (the military commentator Roni Daniel in a news broadcast: "Israel is also a superpower. We have nothing to fear.")
We who live here, are afraid, and justifiably so, of the knights of war. He who leads to this war, may our blood be on his own head.