Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Vacationing Netanyahu can’t find time to meet IAEA chief

24 August 2010

By Yossi Melman and Barak Ravid, Haaretz – 24 Aug 2010

Despite the great importance Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attaches to efforts to thwart both Iran’s nuclear program and global calls for beginning international inspections of Israel’s Dimona facility, he could not find time during his vacation to meet the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog during his two-day working visit to Israel.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had requested to meet with Netanyahu months ago. But their scheduled meeting was abruptly canceled a few days ago because it conflicted with the prime minister’s vacation in the north.

According to a diplomat familiar with the details of the visit, the Amano-Netanyahu meeting was scheduled to take place Monday afternoon, shortly after the IAEA chief landed in Israel and a few hours before the premier was due to embark on his holiday.

The official added that even though the meeting was on the IAEA chief’s schedule, he was told it had been canceled due to Netanyahu’s vacation.

National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, whose portfolio includes sensitive strategic issues like nuclear weapons, will also not meet with Amano – and the same goes for other key officials, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Instead, Amano will be received by Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor, President Shimon Peres and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Meridor and Amano met in Washington in May.

Amano is in Israel at the invitation of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission. His visit here was meant to be kept under wraps, but was leaked to the press.

On Monday, Amano met with IAEC director general Shaul Chorev. He is also scheduled to tour the Soreq Nuclear Research Center, whose activities are monitored by the IAEA.

Netanyahu’s decision to cancel his meeting with Amano raised eyebrows on Monday, particularly given the premier’s fixation on Iran’s nuclear program. The prime minister and his aides have also been working feverishly to minimize the effects of last May’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference, which adopted a resolution calling for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the IAEA will convene in Septemebr convene its General Assembly, at which Arab states are expected to try to pass a resolution mandating international inspection of all Israeli nuclear facilities. The prime minister’s bureau commented: “Due to the opening of the direct talks in Washington next week, Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu went on vacation earlier than scheduled. Therefore it was agreed he would speak on the telephone to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano later this week.”

Back to Top

Readers are welcome to discuss IOA content on our Facebook page. To participate, please click HERE.

Please support the IOA so that we can continue covering the Israeli Occupation. To help, please click HERE.

Previous post:

Next post: