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Middle East - AP
Israeli Arab Lawmaker: Nukes Are a Danger
Thu Jul 3, 8:18 PM ET

By PETER ENAV, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM - An Israeli Arab lawmaker said Thursday that the nation's nuclear arsenal is a danger to itself, as well as its neighbors.


Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons, but foreign reports claim Israel has nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles.

In parliament on Wednesday, the lawmaker, Issam Mahoul, again discussed the once taboo subject, as he did in February 2000, the first time a legislator had spoken in public about Israel's nuclear weapons program.

Addressing the government from the parliament podium, Mahoul asked if reports that Israel has nuclear weapons stationed at three locations — the Galilee, Haifa and outside Jerusalem — is true.

Cabinet minister Gideon Ezra, responding for the government, merely said that Israel will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.

On Thursday, Mahoul told The Associated Press that Israel is building an illusion. "Israel believes that having nuclear weapons helps keeps it strong," he said. "But in fact the opposite is true. Neighboring countries are encouraged to engage in nuclear research, and develop weapons systems that could devastate a small country like Israel."

Over the weekend, the Israeli government protested sharply over a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary stating that Israel has the world's sixth-largest nuclear arsenal, as well as poison gas. The director of the Israeli Government Press Office, Daniel Seaman, called the BBC "anti-Semitic" and indicated that sanctions would be imposed.

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