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Irish Truthteller in Jerusalem

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In 1976, at the height of "The Troubles", [which extended from 1969 to 1998] the "Peace People" movement organized the largest nonviolent demonstrations in the history of Northern Ireland. The following year Betty and Mairead Corrigan Maguire were awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for their leadership and vision.

The war raged on but Máiread persisted in speaking and promoting nonviolence. Since 1976, Máiread has 'insisted "that a peaceful and just society can be achieved only through nonviolent means and that the path to peace lies in each of our hearts. I believe that hope for the future depends on each of us taking nonviolence into our hearts and minds and developing new and imaginative structures which are nonviolent and life-giving for all. Some people will argue that this is too idealistic. I believe it is very realistic. I am convinced that humanity is fast evolving to this higher consciousness. For those who say it cannot be done, let us remember that humanity learned to abolish slavery. Our task now is no less than the abolition of violence and war .... We can rejoice and celebrate today because we are living in a miraculous time. Everything is changing and everything is possible."áiread

In April 2006, after spending 10 days in Israel-Palestine Mairead Corrigan Maguire stated:

"During my visit I have travelled to Jenin Refugee Camp, Hebron, and Bethlehem in the Israeli Occupied Terrorities. I have witnessed the daily suffering of the Palestinian people living under an increasing and worsening oppressive Israeli occupation.

"I believe there is a great desire for peace amongst all the people, but in order to move into serious dialogue and negotiations urgent steps, and the political will, particularly from the Israeli Government, need to be taken.

"I believe it is sad and shameful that the Israeli Government continues to detain Mordechai Vanunu for this the 20th year of his internal exile within Israel. He has no secrets. He is no threat to Israeli security. I therefore call upon the Israel Government to uphold Mordechai Vanunu's human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of movement and let him go."

On September 11, 2006, Maried wrote from Jerusalem:

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On 7th September, 2006 upon hearing of her unanimous appointment as the next Israeli Supreme Court President, Justice Dorit Beinisch said "she would preserve the Supreme Court's culture of values'. She went on to say 'As for the talk of eroding public confidence in the court system, everyone from all walks of life comes to court to ask for its help.' She said the Supreme Court had no political agenda and protected basic values.
I found these interesting comments from Justice Beinisch, who just the day before sat in the Israeli Court (together with Justices Chesine and Brunis) hearing this the 3rd Appeal of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower, against his restrictions.

In l986 Mordechai Vanunu, acting out of conscience, revealed to the world that Israel had a nuclear weapons programme. Sentenced to 18 years in prison, he spent the first 12, in solitary confinement in a tiny cell, and eventually was released in April, 2004 having completed the entire 18 years. Upon his release the Israeli Government imposed draconian restrictions on his freedom. He is forbidden to speak to foreigners, foreign press or leave Israel. Each year for the past 2 years on 2lst April, these restrictions are renewed and Vanunu remains a virtual prisoner living within a couple of square miles within East Jerusalem, and under constant security surveillance everywhere he goes.

On this my 4th visit to support Mordechai Vanunu (whom I have nominated many times for the Nobel Peace Prize) I attended the Israeli Supreme Court hearings on Vanunu restrictions on 6th September, 2006. Vanunu defense Lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, argued that in all the interviews Mordechai gave to the International Media since his release, in April 2004, there was no new secrets revealed and nothing he said was endangering the security of the State. He said that the Supreme Court stated in its judgment last year, that 'the no breaches of restrictions together with the "Passing of time" factor are the base in deciding the continuing or ending of the restrictions", and now after two and a half years and in the light of the fact that Mordechai did not breach the restrictions for eight months, Feldman argued, the court should consider the ending of the restrictions. Mr. Feldman said that the ban on Mordechai to leave the country is a serious breach of his fundamental constitutional human rights. The attorney for the State came to the court with four or five men, secret expert witnesses, from the Secret Services and from the secret Israeli Nuclear Committee, to give the three judges a testimony behind closed doors, without Mordechai and his lawyers present, as they have done in the previous discussions in the Supreme Court. Their aim would be to convince the court that Vanunu still has more information to reveal and he is a serious danger to the security of the State.

The President of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinish, said that there is no need to hear these secret testimonies as their position was well accepted by the previous bench of the court and 'it is accepted on this bench too'. The Attorney for the State disputed Feldman's statements 'Vanunu is still a danger to the State Security, he has more unpublished information and he wanted to make it public". He also said that it is not true that Vanunu did not breach the restrictions in the past eight months and that he has material on that but he wants it to be heard in closed door. Mr. Feldman said only if the state has a proper order to make it closed doors evidence. In the end the court asked the Sate to obtain the certificate for secrecy and make a new date to continue the hearing of the appeal.
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One thing was clear from both the State attorney and from the Judges statements in the court, that with our without Vanunu breaching the restrictions, eight months or a years time (since the previous decision of the court) is not enough time to end restrictions. The President of the Court said that 'the court in its decision left the term 'time' undefined' and asked the State what is their position to how long more the restrictions could continue but there was no clear answer, from the State Prosecutor how long was long enough!.

As I sat in the Israeli Court I was surprised at one of the comments by President Beinisch to the effect that two year's restrictions do not seem too long! I though to myself, that it is, two and a half years restrictions, plus 18 years in prison (12 solitary) and every day that goes by now, as Mordechai Vanunu is a virtual prisoner, whose life is constantly in danger, being repunished again and again (itself an action forbidden by law). How long is it going to be before it is finally long enough! Vanunu has no secrets; Israel and the world know it. His situation is now worse than a prison term, when at least he could look forward to getting out at a given time. Now he knows the Israel Gov. directed by the Security Services of Israel, can keep him in Israel forever if they like, and no one outside Israeli, or inside, apart from the Israeli Supreme Court if they really are a Court of justice, can do anything about it! Vanunu has gone (yet again as this is the 3rd appeal!) to the Israeli Court to ask for its help, and the question is will they help give him Justice NOW, and if not now, WHEN? or must he live out the rest of his life incarcerated within Israel, a victim of secret court hearings, and securocrats, and an victim of an allegedly democractic country with a sham justice system, offering no hope to Vanunu or any of its citizens who come looking justice from their Courts of Justice.

Both inside Israeli and many in the International community, wait and watch, to see if President Beinisch and her 2 Justice colleagues, will have the courage to uphold International Laws and basic common decency and justice, and restore Mordechai Vanunu's right to his basic freedom of speech and movement. The result of this Appeal will indeed give us an indication of the future strength of Israeli justice for those who go to ask for its help. We wait in hope that we may yet see JUSTICE IN JERUSALEM.

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Eileen Fleming,is a Citizen of CONSCIENCE for US House of Representatives 2012 Founder of Staff Member of, A Feature Correspondent for Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" (more...)

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