A senior level UN official claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to ratify an international treaty aimed at banning all nuclear tests in the Middle East. “In Netanyahu’s eyes, it’s a matter of when, rather than if,” claimed the UN official after a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister.







The Negev Nuclear Research Center (archives)

The Negev Nuclear Research Center (archives) Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

A senior level UN official said that Israel is ready to ratify a treaty banning nuclear tests, according to several media outlets. Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, said that Netanyahu is contemplating when to ratify the treaty, not whether to do it.

“In Netanyahu’s eyes, it’s a matter of when, rather than if,” explained Zerbo. “Netanyahu did not commit to any specific time-frame but this is normal in diplomacy.” Zerbo spoke after meeting with Netanyahu in Israel. If Israel ratifies the treaty, it will place pressure on Iran, one of the countries that has not yet ratified it.

Netanyahu announced after the meeting that “Israel supports the treaty and its goals, thus we will ratify it.” Netanyahu emphasized that the ratification in dependent on the regional context and the appropriate timing. The Israeli Prime Minister that the Zerbo’s visit “reflects the many years of successful cooperation between Israel and the organization.”







Zerbo (archives)

Zerbo (archives) Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

According to the treaty, the Middle East will be a nuclear test-free zone. Israel signed the treaty in 1996 but did not ratify it, just like seven other major countries- the US, China, Iran, Egypt, North Korea, India and Pakistan- thus the treaty was never implemented.  

Zerbo conducted a two-day visit in Israel, during which he met with head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) Ze’ev Snir, ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministry officials.