Chemists Urge Israel to Ban Chemical Weapons

Jul 7, 2016

The President of the Israeli Chemical Society has published an open letter to the Prime-Minister of Israel urging the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Israel, Egypt, Southern Sudan (who plan to sign) and North Korea are the only countries of the 196 recognised countries that have not signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) which provides for the supervised elimination and monitoring of all chemical weapons under the auspices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The State of Israel, which has signed but not ratified the CWC, is a member of the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuChemS) so the EuChemS President has been supporting Professor Ehud Keinan, President of the Israeli Chemical Society in his attempts to remove these dreadful weapons from Israel. These attempts have culminated in the publication of an open letter from Prof Keinan to The President of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to sign the CWC. The letter was first published in Hebrew, but is produced here for the first time in English.

Prof Keinan ends his letter with the passionate plea: “The Israeli chemists and chemical engineers, together with the large community of chemists around the world, are working together to remove the curse of chemical weapons from the face of the Earth. We prefer to use these materials to fight cancer and pathogens, to purify drinking water, to produce energy-saving insulation materials and many other useful materials for the sake of humankind. We request that the government of Israel would independently ratify the CWC. We have no doubt that Egypt will quickly follow this move and join the CWC as well, because nobody would like to defy a global consensus and remain on the wrong side of the fence together with North Korea. Not only the chemists, but also all Israeli citizens would rejoice at the ratification and applaud the Israeli government for keeping Israel in the sane part of the world.”

EuChemS President David Cole-Hamilton says: “I applaud Prof. Ehud Keinan’s brave action. Chemical weapons have no place in a civilised society. They do not act as a deterrent and their effects are appalling. We have a unique opportunity to rid the world of this scourge and we are so close to doing it. EuChemS calls upon Prime-Minister Netanyahu to ratify the CWC as soon as possible and for Egypt, Southern Sudan and North Korea to follow this inspiring lead”.