The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday criticized Israel for failing to join the international non-proliferation treaty and urged it to renounce its arsenal of nuclear weapons. The U.N. also approved a resolution, introduced by Egypt and backed by all Arab nations, calling on Israel to place its nuclear facilities under international oversight, according to media reports.
The U.N. General Assembly reportedly said that Israel, which has so far refused to officially admit to having nuclear weapons, is the only country in the Middle East that has not ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and urged it to “accede to that treaty without further delay … not to develop, produce test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons.”
The NPT, which has been ratified by 189 nations, is an international accord aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in a move toward eventual disarmament. Five countries -- Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea and South Sudan -- have so far refused to sign the treaty.
The U.N. resolution, which is largely symbolic and is not legally binding, was adopted after 161 nations voted in its favor. Five countries, including the U.S., Canada and Israel, voted against it while 18 countries abstained.
Israel has, in the past, claimed that a lasting peace deal with Palestine and a nuclear arms-free Iran are prerequisites for ensuring that the Middle East is free of weapons of mass destruction, according to media reports.
However, Israel has, on its part, adopted a policy of “opacity” insofar as its nuclear arsenal is concerned, and has refused to confirm or deny the existence of a nuclear weapons program in the country.