25 May 2010

Did Israel Offer Nukes to South Africa?

Israel says 'no'.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday categorically denied a report that he offered nuclear warheads to South Africa in 1975, when he was defense minister.

The report published Sunday in the British newspaper The Guardian is based on an American academic's research and claims to cite secret minutes of a meeting Peres held with senior South African officials.

Peres said Israel never negotiated the transfer of nuclear weapons to South Africa.

"There exists no basis in reality for the claims published this morning by The Guardian that in 1975 Israel negotiated with South Africa the exchange of nuclear weapons," the president said in an English-language statement. "Unfortunately, The Guardian elected to write its piece based on the selective interpretation of South African documents and not on concrete facts."

The article is based on a series of documents the South African government declassified in response to a request from American academic Sasha Polakow-Suransky, who is writing a book called "The Unspoken Alliance" about the close relationship between the Israel and South Africa.

Appearing alongside the article, the partially censored documents show a formal request from the South Africans for nuclear-capable warheads, and minutes of meetings in which then-Defense Minister Peres listed weapons available for sale.

By: Brant

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