Holy Land: British peace campaigners visit Vanunu

 A delegation of the British Section of Pax Christi met with Mordechai Vanunu on 28 December in East Jerusalem at the end of their ten day peace pilgrimage to Palestine. The group made their visit at St George's Anglican Cathedral in East Jerusalem where Mordechai has found sanctuary following his release from prison on April 2004. He had been imprisoned eighteen years earlier on charges of treason and disclosure of intelligence relating to Israel's nuclear weapons programme. Strict conditions have been imposed on him since his release. He is unable to leave the country and is not supposed to speak with journalists or foreign visitors. The Pax Christi group discovered that Mordechai had attempted to reach Bethlehem on Christmas Eve to attend his first midnight Mass as a free person. On reaching the Bethlehem checkpoint he was stopped and arrested and spent the night in a police station in Tel Aviv. He was committed to five-day house arrest. This was Mordechai's second arrest since April. In November members of the Israeli Defence Forces raided St George's, took Mordechai and confiscated his computer. The group were honoured and delighted to have the opportunity of meeting Mordechai. They were able to tell him of the interest and support he receives from peacemakers in Britain. They were deeply impressed by the strength of character and clear focus of Mordechai. Eighteen years in prison had done nothing to shake him from his conviction of the evil of nuclear weapons in our world. He expressed his desire to continue to campaign against nuclear weapons and to find time to travel and write once restrictions are lifted.

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