Vanunu to Clinton: 'Thanks for Helping'

Editor's note: Responding last April to a letter from 36 members of Congress, President Clinton wrote that he shares their concerns about the continuing imprisonment of Mordechai Vanunu and the secrecy surrounding Israel's nuclear weapons program. Here are excerpts from a recent letter from Vanunu to the President.

To the President of the U.S.
Mr. Bill Clinton:

I am writing from Israel prison to thank you very much for your letter to Congresswoman Lynn Rivers. I think you have done a great and significant step by speaking very clear and loud on behalf of my release and especially on nuclear weapons production in Israel. I believe this is a change of direction in U.S. policy toward Israeli nuclear weapons and for all the rest of the world to know that the U.S. is taking the problem very seriously even with Israel, its ally.

Your letter can bring more politicians and leaders in the U.S. and all the world to follow U.S. policy to end nuclear weapons proliferation in secret. The letter is equal to all U.S. armed activity against Iraq or other states. I believe that if the U.S. had taken such a step many years ago, even during the Cold War, toward Israel it could have prevented all the harsh activities against Iraq and other states, because Israel was the pioneer in the spread of nuclear weapons [in the Middle East]….

After 13 years in an Israeli prison, 11½ years of it in solitary confinement, I still have no freedom of speech. I cannot meet and speak with my supporters. This is an example of Israeli anti-democratic behavior against me and against others in many ways.

So I decided I'll not live any more in this state. I cannot be a citizen of a state which has caused me such a harsh life for many years. I have canceled my Israeli citizenship. I will not serve in its army or any part of its government. I am asking you to grant me U.S. citizenship.

I think I have suffered too much, and for a long time I succeeded to survive. No one knows or is able to measure rightly what I have passed through in this prison. Now I want to start a new life in the real promised land….

So thank you so much for all your work and activities on behalf of my release… I hope you will succeed to see me released in your term….

Yours sincerely,
Mordechai Vanunu, J.C.