4 August 2005: for immediate release

Following yesterday’s BBC Newsnight report, which revealed that Britain secretly supplied Israel with 20 tons of heavy water, enabling it to make nuclear weapons, CND is urging the British government to come clean about its role in the development of Israeli nuclear weapons. CND Chair Kate Hudson said today that she was astonished by the claim that Foreign Office officials sold this nuclear ingredient without consulting the government of the time, adding ‘Is this yet another, earlier, example of the buck-passing we have seen over the illegal decision to go to war on Iraq?’

CND notes that Britain has supported numerous resolutions from the UN General Assembly and Security Council, calling for a nuclear weapons free Middle East, without owning up to its role in Israeli nuclear proliferation. Israeli nuclear weapons pose a particular risk to peace and security in the Middle East region and internationally because they are seen as a significant threat by neighbouring non-nuclear states, and are not subject to safeguards under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Israel has consistently refused to joint the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Kate Hudson, Chair of CND, said,

“The British government speaks out against nuclear proliferation. It even went to war on Iraq, ostensibly over its supposed nuclear proliferation. Now we know that the British government was responsible for the Israeli nuclear weapons programme. This is a further shocking example of Britain’s nuclear hypocrisy. We call on our government to make strenuous efforts to secure the goal of the abolition of Israeli nukes, as a major contribution to peace in the Middle East and to stability world wide.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Vice-Chair of CND, further linked the issue to Britain’s arms sales to Israel,

“”Israel is in breach of international law in its illegal development of nuclear weapons and Britain, as a signatory to the NPT, should not be involved with any arms sales that could enhance Israel’s nuclear capability which is a threat to the peace of the whole region”.

As the world marks the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki where over 250,000 men, women and children lost their lives, it is time for the British government to redress the damage it has caused in the Middle East by working for an end to Israeli nukes. That would be a real contribution to ensuring there will be no more Hiroshimas.


Notes to Editor:

1. For further information and interviews please contact CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859