Israel offered nukes to SA apartheid
Declassified documents cast new light on Israel’s nuclear arsenals, revealing an offer by Israel to provide South Africa’s apartheid regime with nuclear arms.
In an article published on Sunday, UK-based daily The Guardian explained how South African officials asked for nuclear warheads and Tel Aviv promised to sell them to the apartheid regime.
According to the report, in 1975, then South African Defense Minister Pieter Willem Botha held a clandestine meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, who served as Israel’s defense minister at the time.
A secret military cooperation agreement was signed at the meeting, during which Botha reportedly requested nuclear weapons and Peres offered three warhead versions for sale.
The report contains “the first documentary evidence” of Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, said the daily which also published a photo showing the signatures of Peres and Botha on the 1975 military agreement.
The revelations are further backed by South African documents uncovered by American academic Sasha Polakow-Suransky for his book titled The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s secret alliance with apartheid South Africa.
The documents confirm accounts by Dieter Gerhardt, a South African naval commander jailed in 1984 for spying for the Soviet Union. Gerhardt, upon his release and the collapse of the Apartheid Regime, said that Israel offered eight Jericho ballistic missiles armed with “special warheads” to South Africa.
The Guardian report said that financial considerations prevented Botha from going through with the deal.
Despite Tel Aviv’s decades-long policy of ambiguity regarding its nuclear activity, Israel is generally deemed to be the sole wielder of nuclear arms in the Middle East region, with military experts estimating the regime to possess up to 300 warheads.