At long last: part 1 of my four-part series Decay of the Third Kingdom is published on Warscapes. Thank you to Michael Busch for his editorial work on this series. Link is here: http://warscapes.com/reportage/decay-third-kingdom-israeli-nuclear-development-and-future-negev-desert-part-one
The first section of this retrospective essay will begin by situating Israeli nuclear development within its early historical context and national mythology. It naturally includes Israel’s public emergence as a militarized nuclear threat during the Six Day War. It will then look at Israel’s collaboration with the apartheid government of South Africa on procuring uranium, the diversion of uranium from the United States, and exchanging technological expertise with other allies. The second part of this article will look at the ongoing Israeli implementation of radioactive materials in weapons and zones attacked during military operations, including Lebanon in 2006. It will then focus on the role of secondary sources of refined uranium, like the agricultural potash industry, for the production of nuclear arms. It will also look at how the nuclear and phosphate/chemical mining industries in the Negev Desert play into Israel’s colonial project, illegal settlement of the West Bank, and persecution of Bedouin peoples in the Negev.
Excerpt from Part 1:
Military censorship was pervasive in the formative years of Israel’s nuclear program, when journalists covering the country’s nuclear capacity were obstructed from reporting on anything relating to “security issues.” It is significant that this historic tradition of Israeli censorship, inclusive of both national and international media, has continued to evolve to this day. More recently, Israel moved to rebrand its long-standing military censorship unit, with the intention to integrate its functions within “a streamlined civilian agency.” Sima Vaknin-Gill, who took over the position of Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs in 2016, intended to remake the military censorship project into a civilian institution that, in her words, would provide “guidance” to media. Under Vaknin-Gil’s direction, the ministry was reported by Electronic Intifada to be paying off editors to publish “puff pieces online and in media using deceptive methods.” This echoed similar methods employed by Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan who allegedly payed the Yedioth Ahronoth Group “to publish journalistic articles, which were then distributed by member organizations of the “Pro-Israel Network” in Israel and around the world.”