Carter says Israel has arsenal of 150 nuclear weapons

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has said Israel holds at least 150 nuclear weapons, the first time a U.S. president has publicly acknowledged Israel’s atomic arsenal.

Asked at a news conference at Wales’s Hay literary festival on Sunday how a future U.S. president should deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, Carter put the risk in context by listing atomic weapons held globally.

“The U.S. has more more than 12,000 nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union (Russia) has about the same, Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more. We have a phalanx of enormous weaponry … not only of enormous weaponry but of rockets to deliver those missiles on a pinpoint accuracy target,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks.

Carter also condemned Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip as “one of the greatest human rights crimes now existing on Earth,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Carter said in reference to the situation of Palestinians in Gaza that, “There is no reason to treat these people this way.”

The 83-year-old was subjected to criticism on a recent visit to Israel for his meetings with officials from Palestinian militant group Hamas as well as his trip to Syria where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.

He has also in the past branded a “crime and an atrocity” the Israeli blockade of Gaza, imposed in response to ongoing rocket attacks launched from the territory.

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  • Last update – 21:23 26/05/2008

    Source: Haaretz.com

    Report: Syrian reservists called up for fear of Israeli strike

    London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper quotes sources in Damascus as saying Syria views Israeli media reports, IDF commanders’ statements as incitement, attempt to prepare public opinion for war. According to report, Syrian army on heightened alert, conducting wide-scale drills

    Syria is preparing for a comprehensive Israeli strike which will be combined with an attack on Hizbullah, sources in Damascus have told the London-based Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.

    The sources, which refused to reveal their identity, reported that Syria was closely monitoring the movement of Israeli forces along the northern border.

    The newspaper reported Wednesday that Damascus viewed the Israeli media reports and statements made by senior Israel Defense Forces officials as incitement and attempts to prepare the Israeli and global public opinion for a war against Syria.

    The sources added that the Syrian forces were conducting wide-scale military maneuvers and have called up reservists in preparation for an Israeli attack.

    Read moreReport: Syrian reservists called up for fear of Israeli strike