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July 2010, Week 3

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Open Letter of Appeal to the Jewish people from Nobel
Laureate Mairead Maguire

Arabisto.com News and Commentary on the Middle East
July 18, 2010

http://arabisto.com/article/Blogs/Eileen_Fleming/Open_Letter_to_the_Jewish_People_from_Noble_Laureate_Mairead_Maguire_and_the_Vanunu_Saga_20052010/69417_

Dear Friends,

I write to ask for your help in gaining the freedom of
a good man, a man of peace, and a man of conscience.

In the Jewish scriptures there is great emphasis on
justice and freedom and it is for such, for one man,
that I write to seek your help.

He will not be aware that I am writing this Appeal, but
I do so in the hope that, with your help,  it will
produce his freedom, and not (and this I must risk)
cause yet more punishment and cruelty to be inflicted
upon him.

However, I feel when I tell you the story, it will
touch your hearts and there will be those amongst you
who will be able to help him gain his freedom.

In May, 2010, this man was returned to prison to serve
three months for allegedly breaking his prison release
restrictions and speaking to Foreign Media.   On Sunday
llth July, 2010, he had  his first visit in seven
weeks.   His brother, Meir, was granted a 30 minute
visit.  There was  a glass window between them and they
spoke via the phone.  He wore a prison uniform.  He is
held in the hardest prison section there is in the
prison.  It has the most notorious criminals in the
country, well known hard murder cases.  All about a
dozen are in severe isolation conditions.  He is in a
cell by himself for 24 hours a day, no window but a
small wire covered crack at the top part of one wall. 
He has about an hour's walk a day in a very tiny yard. 
He was simply thrown in a cell by the security agents,
the door locked, and left to suffer there all alone. 
He has not spoken to anyone in all the seven weeks and
this visit was (apart from a short visit of his lawyer
6 weeks ago) the first conversation he had in seven
weeks.  His food is limited in quality and quantity,
and his reading material two books he has with him.  Of
course his spirits are down as a result of being put in
such harsh, inhuman and cruel conditions.

His name is Mordechai Vanunu, and he is in an Israeli
prison cell.  Mordechai is no stranger to prison.  In
l986 Mordechai Vanunu told the world that Israel had a
Nuclear Weapons Programme and he was given 18 years
imprisonment for doing so.  He is the Israeli Nuclear
whistle blower and 24 years later continues to be
punished for trying to warn the Israelis and protect
both Israel and the world from a Nuclear weapons
disaster.   Mordechai Vanunu served the full 18 years
of his sentence (eleven years in solitary ) and upon
release, instead of allowing him to leave Israel, the
Israeli Government put severe restrictions upon him,
including forbidding him to leave Israel and not to
speak to foreign media.  It was the allegedly breaking
of these restrictions and speaking to Foreign media,
which resulted in Mordechai being returned to prison
for 3 months.   He has 6 weeks left to serve in these
harsh prison conditions, and even upon release from
prison will still have to remain in Israel until next
April, 2011 when the restrictions will be reviewed and
probably renewed yet again, as they have been renewed
each year for the past 6 years.   Some people say
Vanunu will never be allowed to leave Israel but will
die there, if indeed in the meantime his spirit is not
broken by his ill treatment and he losses his sanity.

The Shabak continues to tell the Israeli Government he
is a security risk and must not be released and the
Israeli Judiciary and Government obey them and keep him
imprisoned. Vanunu is no risk to Israeli National
Security. He has no nuclear secrets.  I have asked some
Israelis why they think Israel refuses to allow
Mordechai Vanunu to leave Israel. Various reasons are
given but the most frequent answer is they feel the
Israeli Government does not trust its citizens and
holding Mordechai Vanunu, forever, if necessary sends
out the signal to Israeli Citizens to behave
themselves.

It seems, if this is so, that the strategy is working. 
To date only a few courageous Jewish people have raised
their voices against such cruelty and injustice
perpetrated upon Mordecai, and called for him to be
allowed to leave Israel. But I don't believe Mordechai
will never be allowed to leave Israeli and will die in
Jerusalem.   I have met Mordechai many times since he
was released from prison on 2lst April, 2004.   He is a
good man, a man of peace, and a true Gandhian  spirit.
Instead of punishing him, Israel should be proud of
Mordechai Vanunu, and I believe that future generations
of Israelis will look back and realize that there lived
amongst them a great visionary and man of peace, not
only for Israel, but for the human family.  It was with
great joy I nominated him several times for the Nobel
Peace Prize, as did many other prominent names during
the past 24 years.  He richly serves the NPP as he
lives and acts in the true spirit of Alfred Nobel, who
left his prize for those who would work for peace and
disarmament.

However, it is with the deepest sadness that I
acknowledge that in spite of world campaigns by many,
including Amnesty International (and personal letters
from myself  to President Obama, President Shimon
Peres,) Mordechai Vanunu continues 24 years later to be
most cruelly imprisoned and punished by Israel.   Most 
Political and Spiritual leaders, and International
Bodies,  of our time are silent in the face of Israel's
abuse of Vanunu's basic human right to freedom of
speech and liberty, which is in violation of many
International Laws.

However, I have hope that he will be free and I place
my hope in those Jewish people who read this story and
are moved to right a wrong continuing to be done to
Mordechai Vanunu, and they will demand that their
Government give him his freedom, and allow him to leave
Israel.

Shalom,

Mairead Maguire 
Nobel Peace Laureate
www.peacepeople.com

14.7.2010 

_____________________________________________

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