The Arab appeal to pressure Israel to open its nuclear program to inspectors also threatens to deflect attention from Iran, which Washington and its allies now consider a grave nuclear proliferation threat, even though Tehran insists it is not developing nuclear weapons.
An attached draft of the resolution expresses "concern" about Israel's nuclear program and urges it to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and to open its atomic activities to outside inspection.
Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in a statement last month to "work together to oppose efforts to single out Israel" at the 150-nation International Atomic Energy Agency conference. On the proposed Mideast nuclear-free zone talks, their statement warned that "any efforts to single out Israel will make the prospects of convening such a conference unlikely."
Passions have grown since September when the International Atomic Energy Agency assembly overrode Western objections to pass a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program for the first time in 18 years. The result was a setback not only for Israel but also for the United States and other supporters of the Jewish state.
The U.S. and its allies consider Iran the region's greatest proliferation threat, fearing that Tehran is trying to achieve the capacity to make nuclear weapons despite its assertion that it is only building a civilian program to generate power.
But Islamic nations insist that Israel is the true danger in the Middle East, saying they fear its nuclear weapons capacity. Israel has never said it has such arms, but is widely believed to possess them.