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The Guardian February 19, 2003

Downer's cover-up

Foreign Minister Downer's failure to mention Israel, when asked of other 
countries in the Middle East that possess weapons of mass destruction was 
deliberate said the Head of the General Palestinian Delegation to 
Australia, Mr Ali Kazak.

Downer's failure was convenient so that he would not have to explain 
Australia's silence and tolerance of Israel's possession of weapons of mass 

"How could Mr Downer fail to mention the country which has the largest 
stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the Middle East 
and the sixth largest stockpile worldwide and poses an enormous danger to 
the Middle East and the world at large?

"Mr Downer's cover-up on Israel reveals once again the bias and problem of 
Australia's Middle East policy and the double standard it adopts when 
dealing with Israel."

A recent US report, The Third Temple's Holy of Holiest: Israel's Nuclear 
Weapons, issued by the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama states 
Israel's nuclear arsenal has grown from an estimated 13 nuclear bombs in 
1967 to 400 nuclear and thermonuclear weapons.

Israel possesses missiles which are capable of reaching any city anywhere 
in the world with the support of military satellites and its navy could 
deploy nuclear weapons on its fleet of three German-built submarines.

"Israel refuses to accept international inspection of its weapons 
facilities and refuses to be committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation 
Treaty (NNPT), despite repeated resolutions by the UN General Assembly and 
the Security Council to place its nuclear facilities under the 
International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. All Arab countries have 
signed the NNPT.

"Israel used chemical weapons such as napalm and phosphorous bombs in 
its 1967 and 1982 wars and attempted to assassinate a Hamas leader in 
Jordan with a biological weapon in 1977.

Israel threatened to use nuclear warheads against the Arab countries, put 
its nuclear warheads on full alert in the 1973 war and Israeli officials 
recently threatened to use weapons of mass destruction against Iraq.

"Underlining the real danger in the Middle East is Israel's Prime Minister 
General Sharon's history of massacres and war crimes as well as the fact 
that Israel's religious fanatics and extremists, who assassinated their own 
Prime Minister Rabin, are found everywhere, including in the nuclear 
weapons industry and its control rooms. Weapons of mass destruction are 
already in the hands of very dangerous people.

"Israel has defied 87 Security Council resolutions relevant to the 
Palestine question since 1948, 37 of which specifically relate to the 1967-
occupied Palestinian territories.

Mr Kazak said it was time Australia put an end to its double standards and 
hypocrisy and employed the same set of principles to all countries 
including Israel.

"International law and UN resolutions must be implemented on all. Israel 
should not be allowed to continue to be above international law", concluded 
Mr Kazak.

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