The Conclusive Solution For Lasting Peace In The Middle East: Israel's Overwhelming Nuclear Arsenal
All of this conventional military might, however, is not seen to be enough in the eyes of many Israeli strategists. A massed attack by several Arab armies could overwhelm the conventional forces and quickly invade the tiny nation. Thus, the decision to "go nuclear" was not made to nullify Israeli conventional forces, but to supplement them with a powerful deterrent.
Surrounded by hostile Arab nations, the newborn state of Israel made an early commitment to obtaining nuclear weapons. David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, openly advocated an Israeli A-bomb program as a strong deterrent and safeguard against invasion. In 1955, under Eisenhower's "Atoms For Peace" program, both Israel and Egypt signed nuclear cooperation agreements with the United States, and Israel acquired a small reactor which it installed at Nahal Soreq. In 1957, the Israeli cabinet decided to build a nuclear reactor of its own at Dimona, which became operational in 1964. Unlike the first reactor, this one was capable of reprocessing its spent plutonium into approximately two bombs a year. Technological collaboration was provided by France, who actually supplied the reactor mechanisms.
Fuel for the Dimona reactor was partially processed from Dead Sea and Negev desert phosphates, but was also obtained from foreign sources. France is widely believed to have supplied the initial four tons, with other loads possibly coming from South Africa, Argentina, and private corporations in the United States.
One of these companies, the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. in Pennsylvania, was singled out by former CIA Deputy Director Carl Duckett as diverting uranium to Israel. Milco International Co., of Huntington Beach, CA, was indicted in 1985 by a Los Angeles grand jury for providing Israel with 800 krytrons: a tiny timing-switch which can be used for triggering atomic weapons. The number is interesting as only one krytron is required per weapon, and if Israel does control 800 nuclear weapons it would be a fact that would astound even the most imaginative nuclear weapons analysts.
Israel's intelligence forces have been very successful in masquerading both the extent and the very existence of the country's nuclear weapons program, various estimates by nuclear weapons analysts estimate that Israel possesses between 50 to 400 active nuclear weapons. These weapons are primarily of the Teller-Ulam design which yields an explosive range of around one megaton, approximately 80 times greater than the bomb which destroyed Hiroshima.
Israel's Jericho III is a high-impact ballistic missile which can deliver nuclear warheads to a distance of up to 4,500 miles. They key to the effectiveness of this missile is that it reaches an exceptionally high impact speed, an ability which allows it to easily evade any known ballistic missile defenses.
When seen on a map of the world, the range of the Jericho III is definitely impressive. Israel can hit the vast majority of the Eastern Hemisphere at will, including targets as far away as Thailand, South Africa and Iceland!
The International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei formally regards Israel as a state possessing nuclear weapons, and it can thus be concluded that although the full extent of its arsenal is likely to remain shrouded, Israel currently has nuclear weapons, and this number could be in the several hundreds: Definitely enough to render the entire Middle Eastern region uninhabitable for millennia.