Peres: We achieved Oslo because of Dimona

Former president claims direct connection between the perceived strength of Israel due to the Dimona program and the Arab desire for Oslo.

Reut Hadar ,

Shimon Peres at the Oslo Central Synagogue
Shimon Peres at the Oslo Central Synagogue
Haim Zach/GPO

In an interview with Time Magazine, Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres said that the reason that Israel achieved the Oslo accords was due to the fact the the Dimona nuclear program existed. 

Peres served as Israel's Defense Minister between the years of 1959 and 1969.  During his term in that office he helped create Israel’s officially secret nuclear program and establish the first towns in Judea and Samaria. 

Peres said during the interview that “Dimona [the location of Israel’s nuclear reactor] helped us to achieve Oslo. Because many Arabs, out of suspicion, came to the conclusion that it’s very hard to destroy Israel because of it, because of their suspicion.” Peres rejected the suggestion that Dimona sparked a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and said that the important factor is not the weapons themselves, but who wields them. 

“If Switzerland would try today to have a nuclear bomb, I’m not sure people would be very concerned,” he said. “But when you have Ayatollahs who call for the destruction of Israel and even for the destruction of the United States of America – ‘the big Satan and the small Satan’—that is a very dangerous combination.”

The ninth President stubbornly maintained that a two state solution is the key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. “I think it’s the only thing which is possible in order to bring an end to terror, violence and hatred. Israel will be stronger when she achieves peace. Two states can bring peace. The lack of two states can prevent peace. And nations without peace, people without peace, are going to live in a terrible tragedy." 

Peres left politics in 2014 to work on the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, which is located in Arab section of Jaffa overlooking the Mediterranean.