Report: Trump committed to not pressuring Israel over nukes

President Trump reportedly signed letter obligating White House not to press Israel to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

Guy Cohen ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

According to a report in The New Yorker, Israel requested that US President Donald Trump, upon his entry into the White House, sign a letter of commitment to keep Israeli nuclear weapons a secret.

According to the report, a delegation of Israeli officials led by Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer visited the White House on February 13, 2017, about three weeks after Trump was sworn in. At the top of the agenda for the Israelis was the request that Trump sign a secret letter about Israel's "undeclared nuclear arsenal."

Previous administrations since Bill Clinton had signed such letters at Israel's request, but the Americans, according to The New Yorker, did not know of the existence of these letters. The demand created tension between the Israeli delegation and the White House, who felt that the Israelis were telling them what to do .

The White House's initial response was to tell Israelis they needed more time. White House officials complained that Dermer "acted as though he owned the White House," according to the report. In the end, Trump signed the letter.

The New Yorker said that the original version of the letter was formulated as part of Israel's agreement to participate in the 1998 Wye River negotiations. In that letter, it was stated that the United States would not attempt, within the framework of nuclear arms-control initiatives, to “detract” from Israel's “deterrent” capability. Later, Israel “inserted” language into the letter emphasizing that Israel would "defend itself, by itself" and therefore would not consider US nuclear weapons a substitute for Israeli weapons.