War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Yitzhak Rabin, 1987
WAR AND PEACE IN THE NUCLEAR AGE - TAPE 009040 YITZHAK RABIN
Israeli Nuclear Policy
CAN YOU STATE THE OFFICIAL ISRAELI POLICY AS TO THEIR POSITION OF
NUCLEAR WEAPONS BY ISRAEL OR BY OTHER ...?
Well when it comes to Israel's position our policy is not to be the
first to introduce nuclear weapons into the region, which the meaning
of it is that Israel is not a nuclear country. Why? First we believe
that the best way to Israel and to the other countries in the region,
is to have the Middle East free from any nuclear weapons. As you know,
Israel took the initiative to have the original agreement between the
countries of the region to keep the Middle East free from nuclear
weapon. Uh, this is a specific agreement that has, has to be signed
between all the countries of the region. Unfortunately, most of the
Arab countries rejected the idea that such an agreement will be reached
in the context of the bilateral or the multilateral relationship of the
Middle Eastern countries. We believe that basically Israel must have
the capability to reach that at the present and in the future. And
coalition, war coalition of Arab countries that...use their
conventional weapons against Israel by Israel's conventional weapon. We
don't believe that we can allow a situation to develop that Israel will
not be able to defend itself against the threat of the Arab countries
by conventional weapons/ by something which is not convention, because
I believe when Israel will reach the point that by its conventional
weapon, it hasn't got the solution to such eventuality that it will be
a question mark on the existence of Israel and its political viability.
At the same time and as a result of it, we don't want to see Arab
countries trying to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.
Therefore, our policy is on one hand, not to be the first; second,
trying politically to reach an agreement what will keep the region free
from nuclear weapon. Three, we know that without having the capability
to defend ourselves by conventional weapons against conventional
weapons of any Arab co... war coalition, we will be in a very poor
shape. And therefore, four, to prevent to the extent it is possible the
introduction of nuclear weapon by any Arab country that it is at state
of war with Israel.
COULD YOU ENVISION THAT IN THE FUTURE THERE MIGHT BE A SITUATION OF
MUTUAL DETERRENCE, OF THE KIND THAT EXISTS BETWEEN US AND USSR?
Well, allow me to say there always a limitation to our capabilities to
become prophet what will happen, 10, 20, 30 years from now. There are
no doubt, if there will be introduction of nuclear weapons to the
context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, both sides will be more nervous,
less secure and therefore, the further we can prevent it, it's better
to the region, to all the countries of the region.
YOUR PREDECESSOR, DAYAN, AT ONE TIME FELT THAT THERE MIGHT BE AN
EXCHANGEABILITY BETWEEN CONVENTIONAL AND HE CALLED IT... WEAPONS.
I don't remember what Dayan said but I tried to explain very clearly
what I believe in. And I believe that Israel must find, to any
foreseeable future, to any threat that can be presented by the Arab
countries by their conventional weapons, a conventional weapon ... by
Israel. I can't believe to the extent that I can predict the future
that it is impossible to Israel to do it. I would not deny in the
context of any political or peace negotiations. Therefore, one of my
major considerations is to have a defensible boundaries. Defensible
boundaries that have to bear in mind the potential conventional weapon
threat even after peace will be signed. This is why I oppose and
continue to oppose in a context of peace treaty with our neighboring
Arab countries to return to the passage their war aligns.
CAN YOU GIVE ME POLICY FRAME OR THE STRATEGY FRAME THAT PRODUCES AN
ATTACK ON IRAQ, ON THE IRAQI REACTOR?
Well, I believe, even though I was not then in the government of Israel
that took the decision, the purpose was to destroy the Iraqi
potentialities to produce a nuclear weapons. This was the reasoning and
no doubt it was successful. And no doubt it postponed for a long
period, even the thinking about capability that was translated into
deeds by this strike on the center of nuclear development.
DO YOU SEE AN EXTENSION OF SUCH POLICY?
I say sir, I believe that the, the less of the longer it will take. But
till nuclear weapons will be introduced to the region, to the better
for all the people. What kind of means Israel will use, I don't believe
it is advisable now to ....
CAN YOU FORESEE A CIRCUMSTANCE IN WHICH ISRAEL WILL JOIN THE NP TREATY?
Well the problem with the NPT which we are basically for this ... as
long as it will really commit all the countries of the region depends
on their readiness, the Middle Arab-Middle Eastern countries, it might
be also the Islamic Middle Eastern country not just to sign the NPT
because any one of the Arab treaties that sign the NPT at the close it
is not related to Israel. Therefore what is the meaning of signing the
NPT? Therefore we propose instead of the NPT a Middle Eastern
multinational that one country, Israel with Syria, Jerusalem, Iraq,
Egypt, you name it, will sign agreement in which they are committed one
to another not to develop nuclear weapons. And within this agreement to
establish our means of supervision on which we will agree. One, about
the, the others, but they refuse to have such agreement. Therefore, the
NPT has no meaning because for example, Iraq has signed on the NPT and
the Iraq will develop, Iraq develop which we destroyed in the past.
Therefore, signing the NPT doesn't really mean very much.
[END OF TAPE 009040]
- Raw Footage
- Interview with Yitzhak Rabin, 1987
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Yitzhak Rabin was the Israeli Minister of Defense from 1984-1990, and later Prime Minister. In the interview he discusses Israel's nuclear policy. He explains that Israel's policy is that it will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the region, but that it must defend itself from the surrounding Arab countries, and will take action to prevent those countries from gaining a nuclear capability. He declares Israel's desire to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. He also explains that Israel will not sign the non-proliferation treaty because the Arab states refuse to enter into a commitment that includes Israel. Instead, he indicates a preference for an agreement among the Middle Eastern nations.
- Asset type
- Raw Footage
- Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968); nuclear weapons; Nuclear-weapon-free zones; Nuclear nonproliferation; Israel; Iraq; Syria; Egypt
- Rights Note:,Rights:,Rights Credit:WGBH Educational Foundation,Rights Type:All,Rights Coverage:,Rights Holder:WGBH Educational Foundation
- Media type
- Moving Image
Interviewee2: Rabin, Yitzhak, 1922-1995
Publisher: WGBH Educational Foundation
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: c909c85ea4b2d4b68e842860a7eb89ae7be0bad9 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Yitzhak Rabin, 1987,” 1987-01-25, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 1, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-5h7br8mh7d.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Yitzhak Rabin, 1987.” 1987-01-25. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 1, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-5h7br8mh7d>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Yitzhak Rabin, 1987. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-5h7br8mh7d