Netanyahu: Israel Is Not Bound by NPT Resolution

Prime minister's office dismisses international call for Middle East nuclear talks as 'deeply flawed and hypocritical'.

Israel has no obligation to act on a resolution passed at a UN conference on Friday that singled out Israel over non-proliferation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on Saturday.

At the conclusion of a month-long conference in New York, the 189 signatories of the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) called for an international conference in 2012 with the aim of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.

"As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel," the prime minister's office said in a statement. "Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Olivier Fitussi

Israel, which operates a policy of 'nuclear ambiguity' but is widely believed to have an arsenal of atomic warheads, has not signed the NPT and is not required by international law to comply with the conference's resolutions.

The resolution also called on Israel, along with two other non-signatories, India and Pakistan, to join the treaty.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he strongly opposed efforts to single out Israel on non-proliferation and would oppose actions that jeopardize Israel's national security.

The United States announced it "deeply regrets" the resolution.

U.S. National Security Adviser General James L. Jones called the decision to single out Israel "gratuitous".

In the run-up to Friday's conference vote, Israeli diplomats worked intensively to soften the wording of the resolution. After it was passed on Friday, Netanyahu, on a visit to Toronto, consulted by telephone with senior ministers to formulate an official response.

The prime minister office's statement called the resolution "deeply flawed and hypocritical" for focusing on Israel while ignoring the Iran. An NPT signatory, Iran claims its nuclear program is for civilian purposes but is accused by Israel of seeking an atomic bomb.

"[The resolution] singles out Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy and the only country threatened with annihilation," the statement said. "Yet the terrorist regime in Iran, which is racing to develop nuclear weapons and which openly threatens to wipe Israel off the map, is not even mentioned in the resolution."

The statement also claimed that several NPT signatories, including Libya, Iran, Syria and Iraq, have violated the treaty with secret nuclear programs.

"That is why the resolution adopted by the NPT Review Conference not only fails to advance regional security but actually sets it back," the statement said.

In 2008 Israeli warplanes bombed a site in Syria that the U.S. later said was a clandestine nuclear reactor. Libya agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in 2003, while unproved allegations that Iraq was building a bomb formed part of justifications for a U.S. invasion of the country in 2003.