FM Peres to the Knesset on US Withdrawal from the ABM Treaty

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
January 30, 2002

The United States informed Russia that it intends to withdraw from the ABM Treaty (Anti-Ballistic Missile), as provided for in the Treaty.

This is due to the fact that while the main problem in the past was posed by the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, the missile threat today comes from a different direction: irresponsible states produce missiles and distribute missile technologies to countries that sponsor terrorism. In the future, terrorist organizations may also obtain these technologies. When a dictatorship or a terrorist organization will employ ballistic missiles, the ballistic threat will become greater than the territorial threat.

The war against ballistic missiles must now focus on defensive measures against this phenomenon (such as the Israeli Arrow missile) and the struggle against terrorist states, countries that sponsor terrorism and terrorist organizations. Israel is involved in this dual campaign – in the war against fanatical terrorism and in its adoption of defensive measures against ballistic missiles that threaten many populations around the world.

There was a reason why President Bush referred to three dangerous countries in his address yesterday: Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Iran, for example, has acquired and is seeking to acquire missiles of various kinds.

Iran has provided the Hizbullah with tens of thousands of missiles with ranges of 20 – 70 km, sufficient to ignite a regional conflagration. It is developing the Shihab 3 missile, with a range of 1300 km, in its bid to intimidate the entire region, and is working to produce a 5000km-range missile that will threaten European countries. In the future, Iran will try to produce a 10,000 km-range missile capable of threatening North America. Furthermore, Iran is developing non-conventional missile warheads.

The ayatollah regime in Iran is also threatening to destroy Israel using these means – in other words, inflicting genocide through the use of missiles.