Some thoughts and observations from the Washington Gathering to Free Vanunu

First, the good news - Mordechai was released from solitary confinement in the week prior to his October 13 birthday. Please send him letters and holiday cards in the coming months.

The nine of us who were arrested at the Israeli embassy on September 28 were charged with "incommoding." Throughout our time in custody, the "Free Vanunu" T-shirts we wore sparked many questions and expressions of support from both jailed and jailers. We were released after appearing in court late the following afternoon, with a January 18 2001 court date.

Coincidentally, on the 28th, while we were protesting at the embassy for Vanunu's freedom and nuclear abolition, Sharon was in Jerusalem, setting a tragic cycle of violence into motion which has only intensified over the past several weeks.

At the conference, questions were raised and interest was expressed in discussing the relationship between the Vanunu campaign and Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Because the situation in Israel and Palestine has grown worse, it seems important to mention it here. In past years, different opinions have been expressed among the international campaigns to free Vanunu about whether to keep separate the issues of justice for the Palestinians, and the case of Mordechai Vanunu and his message of nuclear abolition.

The U.S. Campaign has taken the position that the two cannot be separated. Mordechai himself became very concerned about the issue of Palestinian rights while attending Beer Sheba University, and had many Palestinian friends. In keeping true to Mordechai's beliefs, his desire for a nuclear-free world remains central to our campaign, and we also cannot ignore his beliefs for liberty and justice for the Palestinians.

Also, we recognize our government's hypocritical policy regarding weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East - on one hand keeping silent about Israel's nuclear arsenal, while continuing murderous sanctions against Iraq for that government's refusal to allow weapons inspections.

Your comments and feedback on this are welcome, as they always are on issues pertinent to the campaign.

-Sam Day, Coordinator, U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu