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Vanunu VS the Unjust Justice System of Israel

July 8th, 2009

eileen fleming

The night before Vanunu's High Court appeal on July 6, 2009, I received a Face Book message from a friend of his whom I met on June 14, 2009 when I spent A Sunday with Vanunu:

Vanunu's friend wrote:

"This morning in church Mordachai said that he has a Supreme Court hearing on Monday and expects a decision on letting him leave Israel after 26 years. He said he hoped it would be his last Sunday with us in church at the English speaking Lutheran service."

I was elated for Vanunu and also relieved that I would no longer be reporting on his freedom of speech trial which began January 25, 2006. For the rest of the evening I prayed/imagined that Israel would see the wisdom of issuing Vanunu a passport stamped "No Return" and he would be on the first flight out to anywhere and have the opportunity to begin a normal life.

But, before I had even sipped my first cup of coffee the next morning, I crashed as I read the Jerusalem Post article linked to a Vanunu goggle News alert that reported:

"His attorney Avigdor Feldman...and the state agreed that after six months, pending a review of his conduct, Vanunu will be able to ask for the restrictions to be lifted and be allowed to travel abroad."[1]

A review of his conduct-what about Israel's? And Vanunu is fully able and has been asking ever since April 21, 2004 to leave the state, but instead Israel imposed and persists to detain him under draconian restrictions that forbid him the right to freedom of speech and freedom of movement.

"Talking to reporters, the infamous nuclear spy said, "All I'm interested in is freedom. Give me a passport and I can tour the world. I want to walk around the streets of New York." [Ibid]

I smiled briefly as I read that and recalled the last time I walked the streets of New York on April 27, 2007. It was just after lunch with Amy Goodman and not far from where I lived the first three years of my life-in apartment 3A at 424 Hudson Street, in The Village.

Only because I had been a donor to Democracy NOW! did I receive an invite to have lunch with Amy, but I seized the opportunity to return home for a day and fill her in that her 2004 interview with Vanunu was major testimony against him in his freedom of speech trial. I hoped that she would follow up with him before his sentence came down as she could shine a light on a Middle East democracy that would even bring such ludicrous charges but Amy did not get around to calling Vanunu, until after he was sentenced to six months on July 2, 2007.

In the last two weeks, I have left at least four phone messages for Amy's producer, Sharif and have sent email and snail mailed Amy and Sharif a copy of my letter to Obama and Netanyahu [Read it here: http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=19&Itemid=31] a few photos of Vanunu, his contact info and pleaded with her to please follow up with Vanunu on human rights issues and any topic other than nuclear weapons.

On July 6, 2009, I left my final phone message for Sharif and vented my feelings to Amy's receptionist after she told me that Amy does not have a voice mail and the producer receives so many story ideas they do not have time to reply to them all. I told her that this story is different, for Amy is culpable in Vanunu's ongoing torture and as she claims to go where the silence is, I want a statement as to why she is so silent about the unjust justice system in Israel.

In Jerusalem Vanunu's attorney said, "Vanunu is not going to change. He will still be the man who left the reactor and transferred sensitive material over to The Sunday Times. But it is inconceivable that a man be held in Israel for his entire life because of this. The world has anyway lost interest in the subject…You can say a lot of things about Vanunu, but you cannot say he is dishonest. Until now he wouldn't commit to refrain from speaking of [Israel's nuclear program], but now he is. He wants to live, to raise a home, a family and children." [Ibid]

However, the "Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, did not agree with Feldman's 'lack of interest' theory, saying that "the case is still generating great interest, like any other security-related case. The media's attention he gets is proof of that." [Ibid]

I wonder, just what media is the judge speaking of?

On Vanunu's Wiki page, I counted a quick dozen footnotes to articles that I have written since 2006 from my interviews with Vanunu-and not in one did we discuss '"security-related" issues or nuclear weapons-but we did talk about his faith, his human rights abuses by Israel, the Christian Exodus from the Holy Land and the news pertaining to his freedom of speech trial.

It was around 9:30 PM in Jerusalem, before I phoned Vanunu to express my disappointment over the continuing injustices he endures and as always, he said he was OK. I also needed him to clarify once again, that I am free to write and say anything I want in pursuit of his full freedom.

Vanunu replied, "You have freedom of speech and freedom of movement. Do what you want. But I am not publishing anything. Everything is already on the Internet."

On my site alone are 2005, 2006, 2008 video with Vanunu and reports from day one of his freedom of speech trial.

When I met Vanunu in 2005 and he told me some of his childhood memories and how he stumbled into Christianity, I knew I was writing down history. I also told Vanunu that when USA Christians learned his story, everything would change for him and Palestine. Good thing I had no clue what an impossible mission I had taken on, but as I thrive on challenges and believe in miracles, I will never give up trying.

It was not until June 14, 2009, that Vanunu finally filled me in on why he has not written his own story. He told me that before I met him a writer and he were openly meeting in the garden of the American Colony and working on his book. But a Palestinian spy turned them both in and the authorities threatened Vanunu with more jail time if he published anything without going through Israeli censors.

As I have published thousands of words about Vanunu, I feel responsible to continue to tell his story until he is allowed the RIGHT to leave the state and publish his own words. Until then, I will do all I can to help expose Israel's unjust justice system.

I begin on February 22, 2006, in a Jerusalem court when it was revealed that Israel had asked Microsoft to hand over all the details of Vanunu’s Hotmail account before a court order had even been obtained and they eluded that Vanunu was being investigated for espionage.

Vanunu said, “Microsoft obeyed the orders and gave them all the details, three months before I was arrested and my computers were confiscated. It is strange to ask Microsoft to give this information before obtaining the court order to listen to my private conversations. It means they wanted to go through my emails in secret, or maybe with the help of the secret services, the Shaback, Mossad.”

His attorney Michael Sfard repeatedly requested Police Representative Mr. Peterburg to specifically state what type of espionage activity Vanunu was accused of.

According to Vanunu, “The policeman did not have any answers and said that he brought all the evidence to the court. When Sfard asked him again about any material related to the espionage charge, Peterburg had no answers.

“Sfard proved that the police had misled the judges who gave the orders to arrest me: to search my room, to go through my email, to confiscate my computers and that they misled Microsoft to believe they are helping in a case of espionage.

"The State came to the court with two special secret Government orders, called Hisaion, which are documents or information that are deemed confidential by the government and kept from the court, the defendant, and lawyers. This allows the prosecution to keep documents related to my court hearing secret. One was from the Minister for Interior Security and one from the Minister of Defense.”

According to Vanunu, his secretly taped police interrogations, his 2004 Christmas Eve arrest for “attempting to leave the country” while traveling the four miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the confiscation of his private property by thirty IDF that stormed into his room at St. George’s Cathedral had all “been done…under the false and misleading statements to the courts of ‘suspicion of espionage’, and yet they are not charging me with spy crimes. And the fact is that I have not committed any crimes.”

On St. Patrick Day 2005, Vanunu spoke to the media immediately after he had been arrested for speaking with the media in 2004.

Vanunu said:

“I have no more secrets to tell and have not set foot in Dimona for more than 18 years. I have been out of prison, although not free, for one year now. Despite the illegal restrictions on my speech, I have again and again spoken out against the use of nuclear weapons anywhere and by any nation. I have given away no sensitive secrets because I have none. I have not acted against the interests of Israel nor do I wish to. I have been investigated by the police again and again, and re-arrested. They have found nothing. I have done nothing but speak for peace and world safety from a nuclear disaster…I do not want to harm Israel, but rather to warn of an enormous danger. I want to work for world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. I want the human race to survive.”

I once wrote an Op-ed that stated Vanunu was a prophet and he emailed me in bold letters that said: “DON’T CALL ME THAT!”

I won't to his face, but in the spirit of freedom of speech, I cannot resist for prophets do NOT necessarily predict the future-but they do point out impending doom and provoke us to at least think about God.

The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah spent much of his life under house arrest in Jerusalem, when he began prophesying from 604-586, a time of storm and stress when the doom of entire nations-including Judah itself-was being sealed. Jeremiah had once been the king’s friend and confident, but the prophet entered a dreary round of persecution and imprisonment, alternating with only brief periods of freedom, and lived under virtual house arrest and was labeled a traitor for speaking truth to power.

“I cannot keep silent…Disaster follows disaster; the land lies in ruins…My people are fools; they do not know me.”-Jeremiah 4:19, 20

Once upon a time, there was an old widow, who lived in a certain town with a judge who cared nothing about justice, people or God. But an old widowed crone kept coming to him with her plea, "Grant me justice against my adversary."

The judge ignored her until she became such a pain in the ass he finally muttered to himself, "Even though I don't fear God or care a hoot about this old crone, she has become such a pain in my ass that I will give into her, just to get her to leave me alone!" [Paraphrased from a story Jesus told in Luke 18 1-5]

That old crone has become a close companion- as in inspiration- to me and so, today I will email Sharif a copy of this article for Amy and I will make a few phone calls to the following Israeli powers that be. I know I am but one lone voice out of the wilderness, but I can be a pain in their ass and I will persist to demand freedom for Vanunu NOW! Because while there is a soul in prison, I am not free either.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan St.
Jerusalem 91950

Mark Regev, Prime Minister's office at:
Tel +972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264

Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel:+972 2530 3111

1. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443734213&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Eileen Fleming, A Feature Correspondent for The Palestine Telegraph and Arabisto.com
Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"

Only in Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world again."-Tom Paine


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