Israel offered to sell nukes to South Africa: Book

Israel offered to sell nukes to South Africa: Book

According to secret South African documents published in the book, the then Israel's Defence Minister Shimon Peres, had agreed to provide such weapons "in three different sizes" following a request from the then white minority government, 'The Guardian' reported.

The "three sizes" refer to conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons, the book says.

According to the book, the two sides -- Peres from Israel and South African Defense Minister PW Botha -- signed a widescale agreement vis-à-vis the military ties of both the countries, which includes a clause stating that "the existence of the document" will be kept a secret.

A memo, dated 31 March, 1975, by Gen RF Armstrong, the then South Africa's military chief of staff, said the missiles would have to be armed by nuclear warheads manufactured in his country "or acquired elsewhere".

At the time, South Africa was years away from being able to build a nuclear bomb.
Minutes from a subsequent meeting between Peres and his South African counterpart, indicated that the Apartheid government was interested in buying Jericho missiles "if the correct payload was available".

However, the deal had collapsed on cost issues. South Africa later developed six nuclear weapons, an arsenal long rumoured to have been built with Israeli help.

The documents, exposed by US academic Sasha Polakow- Suransky in his book, provide alleged proof that Israel has nuclear weapons, despite the policy of vagueness it tries to maintain by neither confirming nor denying the existence of such weapons of mass destruction.

However, a Spokesman for Peres, now Israeli President, has strongly denied the report and told the local media: "We regret that the British newspaper did not find it right to ask for an official response and examine the facts with official Israeli sources.