Report: Israel offered nukes to SA

Peres' office: "The Guardian presents unconfirmed facts."

May 24, 2010 05:39
1 minute read.
Report: Israel offered nukes to SA

dimona reactor 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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President Shimon Peres' office denied allegations on Monday made by British newspaper the Guardian, in which it accuses Israel of offering to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa's apartheid regime.

"We regret that the newspaper did not find it right to ask for an official response and examine the facts with official Israeli sources," the president's office explained.

Additional sources added that "there is no doubt these papers that allegedly document a nuclear missiles sales deal are completely fabricated."

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The story alleges that in 1975, South African Defense Minister PW Botha met secretly with Shimon Peres, Israel's defense minister at the time, in which Botha requested the weapons and Peres offered three warhead versions for sale.

In the same meeting the two also signed a secret cooperation agreement between the military forces of the two countries.

The Guardian report claims that it contains “The first documentary evidence” of Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons.

The revelations are supported by South African documents uncovered by American Academic Sasha Polakow-Suransky for his book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's secret alliance with apartheid South Africa.

The Guardian published a photo showing the signatures of Peres and Botha on the 1975 military agreement between the countries.

The Guardian alleges that the documents confirm accounts by Dieter Gerhardt, a South African naval commander jailed in 1984 for spying for the Soviets. After his release and the end of the Apartheid regime, he said that Israel offered eight Jericho ballistic missiles armed with “special warheads” to South Africa.

The Guardian reports that cost considerations prevented Botha from concluding the deal, which also would have to be approved by Israel's Prime Minister, an approval which "it is uncertain [whether] it would have been forthcoming."

South Africa went on to develop its own nuclear weapons, which were deactivated after the collapse of the Apartheid Regime in 1994.

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