UNGA’s First Committee: Israel Must Get Rid of Its Nuclear Weapons

The United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) First Committee stated in an initial 152-5 vote on Friday that Israel must dispose of all its nuclear weapons and place its nuclear sites under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) purview.

Friday’s resolution on the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East was opposed by five nations – Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Palau, and the United States while another 24 countries, including European Union members, abstained.

Sponsored by the Palestinian Authority and 19 counties including Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates, the annual resolution submitted by Egypt to the UNGA in New York largely targeted Israel as one of only nine nations believed to possess nuclear weapons though Israel has never admitted to having such weapons.

Reaffirming how important is for Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) and to place all its nuclear facilities under IAEA’s comprehensive Nancy safeguards, the resolution further called on Israel not to develop, produce, test, or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons as an important confidence-building measure and as a step toward enhancing peace and security among all states of the region.

Israel is one of the few among the UN’s 193 member states – and the only country in the Middle East – which has not signed the NPT.

The resolution, however, did not mention Iran – which is a signatory to the NPT- although it is believed that Tehran is on the path to developing nuclear weapons.

Speaking in advance of the UNGA’s plenum, the United States Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said that instead of rubber-stamping anti-Israel resolutions, the UN should instead work to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is anticipated for UNGA to pass some 20 resolutions targeting Israel – in many cases for its treatment of the Palestinians – making it the only country against whom the UN body issues so many texts, many of which are even voted twice – once in draft form at a committee level and a second time at the UNGA’s plenum.

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