Vanunu says Israeli security tried to recruit him

Maariv learns of unused portions of atomic spy’s al-Hayat interview. Claims he never violated any of his release restrictions. Jacky Hogi In unpublished portions of last week’s interview in the al-Wasat supplement to the London-based daily al-Hayat, nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu spoke about the conditions of his confinement, the humiliations he suffered at the hands of the guards, and an attempt by the Israel Security Agency (formerly the GSS) to recruit him. Vanunu told of visits by ISA representatives who said they could provide him with anything he wanted. The hint, he believed was clear: the generosity was contingent on his willingness to provide information on what was going on in the prison, which also held many Palestinian inmates. „They tried to recruit me as a collaborator inside the prison”, he said. Speaking about the conditions of his confinement, Vanunu said that his cell was lit 24 hours a day, even while he slept, and that a surveillance camera operated constantly to record his activities. Although I was kept in solitary confinement within four walls and wore the clothes they gave me, every time they let me out of the room, six or seven guards stood in front of me and stripped me down completely”, Vanunu told the interviewer. „It was a constant emotional battle”, he added.

Vanunu also said that on his daily walks in the prison yard, the guards would draw a red line especially for him and forbade him to cross it. The Palestinian prisoners were ordered to stay in their cells during his walks, he said, in order to prevent any contact between them. „Once, the guard forgot to call me back to my cell”, he said. „I hid in the yard for 20 minutes, until the Palestinians came out. About 20 of them walked over to me, hugged me, and became very emotional. Only later did the guard notice, and he called me back to my cell”. When asked what he liked best about his imprisonment, Vanunu replied, „The baklava they brought to the dining hall during Ramadan, the coffee, and the maramia [an Arab drink similar to tea]. Vanunu is still residing at the Anglican Church in east Jerusalem and works there as a bell-ringer. He said that most of his acquaintances are Palestinians from Jerusalem and that he doesn’t go into west Jerusalem for fear of being attacked by Israelis. An Israeli security source told Maariv NRG, „We refuse to respond to each and every one of Vanunu’s claims”. In another interview published in this (Sunday) in al-Hayat, Vanunu said, „I never violated any of my release restrictions…The investigation committee is meant to frighten the media, and especially the foreign press”. Last week’s al-Wassat supplement reported Vanunu’s claim that Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons in its possession, including a hydrogen bomb, with the capacity to kill millions of people. Following the interview, Attorney General Meni Mazuz and the State Prosecutor ordered the police to resume a criminal investigation against Vanunu after it had been halted due to the High Court’s discussion of his petition. Chairman of the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, Yuval Shteinitz (Likud), said that Vanunu should to be sent back to prison because of the interview. Vanunu believes the reason for the public uproar over the interview was that he chose to grant it to an Arab newspaper.