Arabs Push U.N. On Israel's Nukes

Al Aqsa Brigade fighters parade in the streets of the Beach refugee camp in the Gaza Strip Monday Sept. 29 2003. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
AP
Arab nations accused some countries of ignoring Israel's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction while pressuring others to give up nuclear programs.

Israel has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has never confirmed being a nuclear power, but it is widely believed to have nuclear weapons.

In other developments:

  • Israeli troops on Tuesday blew up the home of an Islamic Jihad gunman who killed two people, including a 7-month-old baby, in an attack on a West Bank settlement on the eve of the Jewish New Year.

    Mahmoud Hamdan, 22, infiltrated the guarded Jewish settlement of Negohot late Friday, knocking on the door of a trailer home where a family was sharing a holiday dinner, residents said. One of the guests, a 27-year-old Jewish seminary student, opened the door and was shot in the chest. Then Hamdan entered the house and began shooting randomly, killing the 7-month-old girl.

    Hamdan was killed by soldiers guarding the settlement.

  • Three Israelis have been sentenced to long jail terms for plotting to blow up an Arab girls school in Jerusalem, reports CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger. They were caught by police a year ago as they planted the bomb. Two settlers were sentenced to 15 years in prison, the third man to 12 years.

    In the past few months, police have arrested several other settlers, allegedly part of a network of Jewish militants responsible for attacks on Palestinians. Israeli media have dubbed the group a Jewish terror underground.

  • Three Israeli Arabs have been charged with killing a Jewish soldier, after abducting him as he hitchhiked home near their village in Galilee. They allegedly took the soldier to an olive grove, where he was shot in the head. One of the suspects reconstructed the crime. The case underscores the growing involvement of Arab citizens of Israel in terrorism, in parallel with the three year old Palestinian uprising.
  • An Israeli "peace" group has set off a storm by accusing the government of war crimes. The left-wing group Yesh Gvul petitioned Israel's supreme court, demanding an investigation into the killing of a top Hamas terrorist and 14 Palestinian civilians last year. The group said the Israeli air strike in a heavily populated area was a war crime.

    The charge has sparked outrage among many Israelis, reports Berger. On radio talk shows, critics asked why the group never filed a petition against Yasser Arafat and Palestinian terror groups.

  • The incoming Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, wants to cut the number of ministers in his Cabinet from 24 to 12 because he is dissatisfied with candidates proposed by some of the factions, Palestinian officials said Tuesday.

    The composition and size of the new Palestinian Cabinet could help determine the future of the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.

  • Workers at Israel's seaports launched an open-ended strike Tuesday to protest the government's plan to introduce competition at the ports. The strike widened the circle of unrest that began Monday when 50,000 public sector workers opened another round of work slowdowns to protest proposed budget cuts that would involve civil service layoffs.

    Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt joined at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday in charging that the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency was holding back from criticizing Israel.

    It is "unacceptable that Israel's possession of such weapons should remain a reality that some prefer to ignore or prevent" the international community from dealing with, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa, whose country has been accused by Washington of possessing weapons of mass destruction, said it was regrettable that some level accusations at Arabs while they overlook the Israeli arsenal.

    Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal said Israel's nuclear program was a threat to security and stability in the Middle East. He expressed surprise that the International Atomic Energy Agency was intensifying monitoring of countries which had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while "we see that it continues to ignore the rejection of Israel in not joining the treaty."

    Prince Saud was alluding to North Korea and Iran, which both have signed the treaty, aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

    Under U.S. pressure, the IAEA has given Iran until Oct. 31 to prove it does not plan to develop nuclear weapons. Europe and Russia have also increased pressure on Tehran to meet the deadline. The United States is also leading efforts to demand North Korea abandon its program.

    Prince Saud said Israel's nuclear program was a threat to security and stability in the Middle East.

    Also, the U.S. contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was the reason cited for the invasion and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

    Most Arab countries have opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq, although earlier this month, the Arab League recognized Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council as the interim representative of that country.