Despite the furore whipped up by the United States, Britain and other imperialist powers about Iran’s civilian nuclear programme, it has long been known that the only state in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons is Israel, which also refuses to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Evidence of Israel’s nuclear weapons was brought to light by the courageous scientist Mordechai Vanunu, who was kidnapped in Rome by Mossad agents and spent 18 years in Israeli prisons, the first 11 in solitary confinement, for telling the world the truth.
Another long-known open secret was that the extensive collaboration between the Israeli zionist regime and the former white racist regime of South Africa extended to the realm of nuclear weaponry. When the apartheid regime crumbled, the new government, led by the ANC liberation movement, voluntarily gave up South Africa’s nuclear weapons.
Now, this open secret, too, has been fully corroborated with the publication of a book, Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, by US academic Sasha Polakow-Suransky. Using declassified South African documents, made available to him by the current government, Polakow-Suransky conclusively demonstrated that, in 1975, Israeli leaders, including Shimon Peres, then defence minister and today Israel’s president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, offered to sell three types of nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime.
In the end, South Africa decided not to purchase the weapons from Israel, but developed its own, albeit with substantial Israeli help. Military collaboration between the two pariah states intensified in the succeeding years. For example, South Africa provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to manufacture its nuclear weapons.
In the agreement that Peres signed with his South African counterpart, PW Botha, it was stated that it is “expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement … shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party”. Hence, Peres’s current denials are as unconvincing as they are unsurprising. But as Polakow-Suransky notes: “The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime’s old allies.”
The following year, South African Prime Minister John Vorster visited Israel, his hosts being seemingly unperturbed that he had been interned in World War II as a leading pro-Nazi and virulent anti-semite. Clearly, these were but trifling considerations in comparison with the shared identity of two racist states, both founded on the brutal dispossession of peoples from their land by European settler colonialists. With, if anything, admirable candour, a few months after the visit, the apartheid regime published its yearbook, describing the two countries as having one overriding thing in common: “They are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples.”
With bitter irony, coinciding with the revelations of apartheid/zionist collaboration, Mordechai Vanunu was, at the end of May, returned to jail for another three months for breaching the draconian terms of his parole conditions. These conditions have been imposed despite the fact that Mordechai has served his full term and are therefore, according to Amnesty International, illegal under international law.
These new revelations should add weight to the call for the creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, a demand supported by all the Arab countries, along with Iran, but unsurprisingly opposed by Israel. We also say:
Free Mordechai Vanunu!
Hands off Iran!
Freedom for Palestine!