Israel's Dimona nuclear site
Israel's Dimona nuclear siteIsrael news photo: (file)

U.S. President Barack Obama has agreed to continue a confidential understanding between the U.S. and Israel which allows the Jewish State to bypass international inspection and review of its nuclear facilities and capabilities, the Washington Times reported Saturday.

Obama's decision to preserve the four decades-old agreement came during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House in May, said the report. Several officials were quoted as saying that the decision means that there will be no American pressure on Israel to reveal its nuclear capacity, which the report estimated to be “hundreds of nuclear bombs.”

In addition, Israel will not be forced to sign the treaty on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

Concerns arose early in Obama’s presidency based on perceived signs of his interest in terminating the agreement as part of his vision of “a world free of nuclear weapons” and signing an agreement with Russia to reduce nuclear weapons.

The 40-year-old understandings were crafted during a summit held in September 1969 between then-U.S. President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. According to scholar Avner Cohen’s book "Israel and the Bomb", the U.S. agreed not to resist Israel's nuclear program on condition that it remain undisclosed and no weapons experiments be conducted.

Both the White House and Israel’s American ambassador have refused to comment on the story.