Waldo Stumpf, who led project to dismantle South Africa’s nuclear weapons program, says Israel could not have offered to sell nuclear warheads to his country in 1975.
Yesterday professor Waldo Stump at the University of Pretoria said he doubted Israel or South Africa would have contemplated a deal seriously.
«To even consider the possible international transfer of nuclear devices … in the political climate post the 1974 Indian ‘peaceful’ explosion, would have had very serious international complications», he said, referring to India’s first nuclear test blast.
A Guardian headline Monday screamed: «Revealed: How Israel Offered to Sell South Africa Nuclear Weapons».
Avner Cohen is the author of Israel and the Bomb, provides this assessment:
«The headline of Chris McGreal’s story is erroneous and misleading. Nothing in the South African documents on which the story was based suggests there was an actual offer by Israel to sell nuclear weapons to the regime in Pretoria. To the contrary, the conversation amounted to a probe by the South Africans, which ultimately went nowhere».
As defense minister, Shimon Peres would not have had the authority to sell nuclear devices to another country, even if he had wanted to. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would have had to decide. I believe that Rabin would have opposed the sale of nuclear weapons, technology, or even components – not just to South Africa, but to anyone. Peres’ reply to the South African feeler was opaque, and Israel, in the end, did the right thing.