Jerusalem24 – Yara Alnazer – The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, through two resolutions largely aimed at Israel which is believed to be the only nuclear power in the region.
The UNGA took a final vote yesterday on the resolutions entitled The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, which passed with 158 in favor, four against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel, Pakistan), and nine abstentions, and The establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East passed with 175 in favor, 1 against (Israel) and 2 abstentions.
Remarkably, the United States abstained in both cases rather than voting against.
The resolutions successfully passed a first vote in October and were widely expected to pass yesterday’s vote.
Aimed at Israel
The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East resolution explicitly calls on Israel to place all of its nuclear activities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and to not “develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, [and] to renounce possession of nuclear weapons”.
The resolutions also call on countries that haven’t yet done so to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and place their nuclear programs under the safeguards of the IAEA.
Israel is one of only four states worldwide to have never been a signatory to the NPT, namely India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan.
Israel is believed to be the only country in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal, posing a risk of non-deterrence. Israel has an estimated 90 nuclear weapons in its possession – although it has never confirmed nor denied their existence – making Israel one of nine nuclear powers in the world.