ATOMIC INTIFADA

From the NYRB‘s first attempt to make sense of the 1987 Palestinian uprising:

As the situation hardens, rocks and stones will not necessarily be replaced only by revolvers. During the last few weeks I have several times heard officials in the US and Israel talk about sophisticated devices of terror, including atom bombs miniaturised into suitcases, being introduced before long.

– Arthur Hertzberg, ‘The Uprising’, New York Review of Books 35.1 (4 February, 1988).

Update (16 July, 2015)

Hertzberg had been worrying about this for a while:

There are increasing rumours that the United States possesses the technology to package an atom bomb in a suitcase. What an advanced superpower knows now, hole-in-the-wall terrorists will know in five years. The nightmares of James Bond movies and spy novels—of cities and nations being held to ransom by will-hidden small nuclear packages—is not far from reality. Is it too farfetched to imagine that such terrorists will show up in the Middle East sooner than anywhere else?

– ‘For a Soviet Role in Mideast Diplomacy’, New York Times (4 March, 1986), A27.

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