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Obama Backs Down from Changing US Policy on Israeli ’Ambiguity’

Obama backs down from changing long-standing US policy accepting Israel’s “nuclear ambiguity.” Report: Secret US letter on helping Israel.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/7/2010, 3:11 PM / Last Update: 7/7/2010, 3:40 PM

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U.S. President Barack Obama has climbed down from the limb on which he changed a long-standing American policy that accepts Israel’s “ambiguity” on whether it has nuclear capability.

He clearly stated a retreat from his position on Tuesday, telling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the United States will not encourage a Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference unless all countries "feel confident that they can attend” and on condition that Israel is not singled out.

Several weeks ago, President Obama ignored Israeli warnings and backed a United Nations resolution for a nuclear-free Middle East that singled out Israel but did not mention Iran.

In his remarks following Tuesday’s 80-minute meeting with Netanyahu at the White House, the president implied that he will continue the policy of accepting Israel’s "ambiguity.” President Obama stated. “We strongly believe that, given its size, its history, the region that it’s in, and the threats that are leveled against us – against it, that Israel has unique security requirements. It’s got to be able to respond to threats or any combination of threats in the region."

Another strong indication of the retreat came from a report Wednesday by Army Radio, which said that the United States sent Israel a secret letter that respects Israel’s being a non-signatory to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The IDF-operated station said the letter to Israel guarantees the sale of materials used for nuclear technology and which usually are not transferred to countries that have not signed the NPT.

Israel's not having signed the NPT has been used by Iran as a response to international demands that it submit to United Nations inspection of its nuclear projects, which are assumed by Israel and the United States to include the production of a nuclear warhead.

The Army Radio report said that the secret letter specifically includes terminology that the United States considers Israel to be "a responsible state that behaves in moderation relative to its capabilities."

A U.S. embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv told Israel National News, “We don’t comment on diplomatic correspondence and whether it exists or not.”