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Israelmarker is widely believed to possess weapons of mass destruction, and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The US Congress Office of Technology Assessment has recorded Israel as a country generally reported as having undeclared chemical warfare capabilities, and an offensive biological warfare program. Officially Israel neither confirms nor denies possessing nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons

Although no official statistics exist, it has been estimated that Israel possesses between 60 to 400 thermonuclear weapons, believed to be of Teller-Ulam design, including strategic warheads in the megaton-range. Delivery mechanisms include intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Israeli government maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity on whether it has nuclear weapons, saying only that it would not be the first to "introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East". The International Atomic Energy Agencymarker Director General Mohamed ElBaradei regards Israel as a state possessing nuclear weapons.

Chemical weapons

Israel has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). There are speculations that a chemical weapons program might be located at the Israel Institute for Biological Research ( IIBR) in Ness Zionamarker [64832].

190 liters of dimethyl methylphosphonate, a CWC schedule 2 chemical used in the synthesis of Sarin nerve gas, was discovered in the cargo of El Al Flight 1862marker after it crashed in 1992 en route to Tel Avivmarker. Israel insisted the material was non-toxic, was to have been used to test filters that protect against chemical weapons, and that it had been clearly listed on the cargo manifest in accordance with international regulations. The shipment was from a U.S. chemical plant to the IIBR under a U.S.marker Department of Commercemarker license.

In 1993, the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment WMD proliferation assessment recorded Israel as a country generally reported as having undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities. Former US deputy assistant secretary of defense responsible for chemical and biological defense, Bill Richardson, said in 1998 "I have no doubt that Israel has worked on both chemical and biological offensive things for a long time ... There's no doubt they've had stuff for years".

Biological weapons

Israel is not a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). It is assumed that the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Zionamarker develops vaccines and antidotes for chemical and biological warfare. While Israel is not known to be producing biological weapons currently, there remains speculation that Israel's ability to start production and dissemination, if necessary, remains active.

Nonproliferation

Israel has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It took part in a regional conference with the Union for the Mediterranean – including majority-Arab states – on 13 July 2008 to remove all weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East.

References

  1. [1]
  2. Brower, Kenneth S., “A Propensity for Conflict: Potential Scenarios and Outcomes of War in the Middle East,” Jane's Intelligence Review, Special Report no. 14, (February 1997), 14-15.



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