WHISTLEBLOWER VANUNU NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE BY LAUREATE
TO FREE VANUNU
In a press conference held in East Jerusalem on December 19, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire (Ireland), announced that she is nominating Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu for the prize in 2005.
Vanunu has been nominated for the prize every year since 1989.
Maguire received the Nobel Prize in 1976, in recognition of her work for peace in Ireland.
"Mordechai Vanunu has paid a heavy price in order to protect us all from nuclear weapons. We are all indebted to him for telling the truth to power and I have come to thank him on behalf of his human family," Maguire said.
Explaining that she had arrived in Israel from a women's peace conference in Jordan, Maguire urged Israelis and Palestinians to work nonviolently for peace. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate urged the Israeli government to free Vanunu from the restrictions that keep him hostage in Israel and to "let Mordechai come home for Christmas." Maguire added, that she would continue to nominate Vanunu for the award "until he gets it."
Issam Makhoul, Member of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), who in February 2000 initiated the first parliamentary debate on nuclear policy ever to be held in Israel, stated: "Only those who struggle for total disarmament of the Middle East, including Israel, of all weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, biological and chemical - has the moral right to condemn Iran for its nuclear project.
The countries that equip Israel with the means to launch nuclear warheads, that supply it with submarines and enable it to develop its missiles, do not have the moral right to condemn the Iranian nuclear project. Anyone who opposes the Iranian project must also oppose the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
"Along with Mordechai Vanunu, I and other Israeli activists refuse to be silenced. We continue to demand, that our government reveal the truth about its WMDs, enable a full international inspection of all WMD sites and dismantle its arsenal. To this end, we are currently involved in organizing an international conference on a nuclear-free Mediterranean area, to be held in April 2005. This date marks the first anniversary of Vanunu's release from prison. This date will hopefully mark the beginning of an anti-nuclear movement in Israel.
"Mordechai Vanunu is not a traitor, he is an Israeli hero. The nuclear bomb does not protect Israel, it endangers Israel."
Mordechai Vanunu , recently elected rector of Glasgow University in Scotland, described the restrictions that were imposed on him when he was released from 18 years imprisonment, in April 2004, the subsequent police harassment and threats to which he has been subjected, and the impact that they have on his ability to rebuild his life.
Asked why he refuses to speak to the Israeli media in Hebrew, Vanunu answered - in Hebrew: "The government of Israel refuses to recognize my human rights. I am prohibited from speaking to foreigners. I say to the Israeli public: I am not your enemy. All I want is for Israel to abolish its nuclear weapons, to respect the rights of the Palestinian people and to let me go free."
Continuing in English, Vanunu stated, that he has no further secrets to reveal about Israel's nuclear reactor and that he demands the right to express his anti-nuclear views, to speak freely to the media and to write his prison memoirs.
All he wants for Christmas, Vanunu said, was to be free to leave Israel and celebrate with his adoptive family in the USA.
In Israel: Rayna Moss,