Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.So today 'Apartheid' is a word so foul, so condemnatory that it is never acceptable to use it in relation to Israel's treatment of Palestinians no matter how increasingly applicable it becomes, but at the height - or the depths - of the South African Apartheid government, Israel was offering them nuclear weapons and a military pact.
The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.
Certainly sounds like a sympathy born from shared approaches to living side by side with a dispossessed and rigidly controlled 'other'.
Plus, yet another nail in the strictly unofficial policy of deliberate ambiguity about Israel's nuclear arsenal, an open secret that makes attacks on Iran for allegedly seeking nuclear weapons intensely hypocritical.
We are abjured to treat such a possibility with - preferably unreasoning - horror, but could they be any more irresponsible than the state that offered them to the white supremacist government of Apartheid era South Africa?