Statement of Mordechai Vanunu
Intended for the Knesset Constitution, Law and Judiciary Committee
March 16, 2005
We are here today to discuss the question of the administrative restrictions imposed upon me, and the international human rights issues at stake.
A full year has passed since my release from prison last April. Although I had served my entire 18-year sentence, 11 _ years of them in solitary confinement, I was placed under special administrative restrictions which prohibited me from leaving Israel and from communicating in any way with foreigners on any subject. The time has come to decide whether to impose these harsh restrictions for yet another year, or to give me at long last, my full freedom. My friends today will address the questions of international and domestic law; such as freedom of speech and the right to travel. However, there are certain personal matters I would like to address personally.
First, let me speak as a man who understands some nuclear science. If there were ever to be a nuclear accident at Dimona, an enormous radioactive cloud would be released into the atmosphere. All agricultural production within Israel and the entire region would be severely damaged. The rate of cancer and birth defects for both human beings and all animals would increase drastically, with tragic results. Our water supply could become contaminated, here in a land where we have no water to spare. Thousands would die immediately, and tens of thousands more with time. Such an accident could also trigger an explosion within Dimona of stored nuclear waste, with even more horrific harm suffered by the people of this region. Israel would never fully recover.
Were a nuclear weapon ever to be used by the Israeli government, we all of course risk being bombed in return. Moreover, should any atomic weapon be utilized anywhere in our region, even those used by our own Security Forces, the nuclear cloud could reach us here as well. Depending on the total number of bombs used millions of humans in this region could perish.
This was the devastation, the horror, which I hoped to prevent when I spoke out eighteen years ago. I knew my revelations might well cost me my life, and they did cost me a great deal of pain. But my motives, my goals, have always been the same: the prevention of the use of nuclear weapons, and the preservation of hundreds of thousands of human lives. This remains my life work.
Eighteen years ago I believed, as I still believe today, that the people of Israel, as well as the global community itself, have the right to know of the existence of nuclear weapons. This is the only way they can insist upon the appropriate development of the peace process here in the Middle East. If there was ever an issue requiring openness and democratic debate, this is it.
Similarly, the international community can only help broker the peace and prevent a catastrophic war if the existence of such weapons are known and properly monitored and controlled. The existence of nuclear weapons is a matter of global concern, and cannot be considered only a local and private matter. By way of example, look at the intensive world effort to curb the development of nuclear weapons in Iran and Korea. This is as it should be. When it comes to the risk of nuclear disaster, we must all see ourselves as citizens of one world.
These are the reasons I spoke out eighteen years ago. I did not seek to harm Israel, but rather to warn of an enormous danger. I do not seek to harm Israel now. I want to work for world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons. I want the human race to survive.
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. 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 twice, but they have found nothing. I have done nothing but speak for peace and world safety from a nuclear disaster.
It is time for Israel to develop into a true democracy and give the people some real voice in our nation's policies, especially in matters which so gravely affect our very survival. Already we must worry about the earthquake fault line beneath Dimona, and the aging reactors themselves. It is not enough for a few politicians to briefly visit the center and simply declare it safe.
I invite the government and the people to open up this issue and enter into a genuine democratic debate about the safety and peace issues involved.
In closing, I am asking the government to let me go. Let me start my personal life over again in full freedom abroad. The time has come to respect my rights and to leave this case in the past for good.