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[casi] article: Israel, Iraq and WMD

Israel, Iraq and WMD
Mazin Qumsiyeh

ISRAEL, A known nuclear power, refuses to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, yet it 
collects massive US aid, contrary to US laws banning aid to such nations. Furthermore, while Bush 
claims efforts to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, there is clear evidence 
that the US supplied such material to Israel, Iraq and other countries.
The best example was revealed in 1992, when an Israeli El Al cargo flight originating in New York 
crashed upon takeoff from Amsterdam airport on its way to Israel, killing 53 Dutch citizens in 
their apartment buildings. On Sept. 30, 1992, the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad published the results 
of the investigation into the nature of the chemicals carried by the flight: it had been carrying 
three of the four ingredients used to manufacture sarin gas.

According to the Shipper's Declaration of Dangerous Goods, the shipment was destined for Israel's 
Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) in Nes Ziona. More shocking was that the 189 litres of 
dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) carried was sufficient for the production of 270kg of sarin and 
was supplied by Solkatronic Chemicals of Morristown, Pennsylvania (also supplier to Israel of other 
“security chemicals”).

The executive vice president of Solkatronic, John Swanciger, confirmed that Soltkatronic had the 
required export licences both for the original shipment and subsequent “replacement” shipments. He 
also confirmed that Israel was the only country to have ordered DMMP.

Israeli authorities initially denied the plane's cargo of dangerous chemicals, although later 
acknowledged the shipments, claiming they were for “test filters in masks and other applications”.

On Oct. 4, 1998, Uzi Nahmaini, of the London Sunday Times, detailed the extent of chemical and 
biological agents being developed at IIBR. He quoted an unnamed biologist who worked at IIBR as 
saying: “There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapon ... which 
is not manufactured at the institute.”

The Amsterdam engineering firm Omegam also investigated the crash site and discovered evidence of 
tributylphosphate (TBP), an industrial chemical used to recycle uranium and plutonium from spent 
fuel rods. This was the process used in Israel, as described by Mordechai Vanunu when he exposed 
Israel's nuclear weapons programme.

Incinerating these chemical components via a plane crash or a missile targeting storage site 
apparently produces a hazardous gas mixture. This happened in Holland (700 victims) and again in 
the Gulf War. The Veterans Administration has, as of May 2002, granted disability benefits to 
159,238 Gulf War soldiers (over 8,000 of these veterans died since 1990). Most disabled veterans 
suffer from the ubiquitous Gulf War syndrome, which includes the same symptoms as those of the 
victims in Holland (autoimmune disease and central nervous system abnormalities).

The beating of the drums of war against Iraq without acknowledging these facts is hypocritical at 
best. Our government seems satisfied when WMD are made and used by us or our allies (including 
Saddam when we supported him). The doctrine of preemptive attacks, borrowed from Israel, is even 
more dangerous, with history showing it to be a complete failure.

War benefits the military and the oil CEOs. Weapon exports and control of oil are reasons why the 
CIA toppled the democratic government of Moussaddaq in Iran, in 1956, and installed the brutal Shah 
regime. During the Iran-Iraq war, the US sold weapons to both nations (but mostly to Iraq) while 
looking the other way on use of WMD on the battlefield.

Reading Israeli papers today we find that Israel wants war so that Iraq is reconstituted under US 
tutelage as a check against Iranian power and to ensure Israel's hegemony in the area. It is so 
obvious that war is not in US public interests. Will President George Bush, Vice President Dick 
Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Adviser Richard Perle and their company fight in 
the war? Will they suffer from Gulf War syndrome? Will they, AIPAC and other Israeli apologists pay 
like the rest of us? It seems that, to the contrary, they will get richer and more powerful at our 
expense, while misleading the public about WMD.

It is time to start telling the American taxpayers the truth about why we continue these disastrous 
foreign policies.

The writer is a Palestinian American associate professor at Yale and co-founder of the Palestine 
Right to Return Coalition and He contributed this article to The Jordan 

Sunday, January 5, 2003 (online for one week only)


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