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Israeli nuclear policy

Israel has an official policy of ambiguity with respect to nuclear weapons. It has never confirmed or denied possessing nuclear weapons and has never conducted a nuclear test.

However, it is universally acknowledged that Israel has a nuclear weapons capability which it developed outside the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Along with India and Pakistan, Israel is therefore considered a de facto nuclear weapon state.

Due to its official stance, clarification of Israel’s nuclear policies and capabilities is difficult.

Capabilities 

Israel is estimated to have a nuclear stockpile of approximately 90 warheads; while production of plutonium for weapons purposes is thought to be continuing.

On the basis of unconfirmed reports, Israel could be in possession of the nuclear triad for delivery of its nuclear capability. 

This short paper is intended as an introduction to Israel’s nuclear weapons policies and programmes, as far as is known from publicly available sources. It is part of a series of country profiles which are available on the House of Commons Library website.


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