Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
What the Shin Bet and Israeli Court Cannot Gag
By Eileen Fleming
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, April 5, 2010
"The Shin Bet, you know, like the FBI and the Mossad, is like your
CIA,"-Mordechai Vanunu explained to me in June 2005 during my first of
seven trips to east Jerusalem. That was back when I was only an American
citizen writing a book based on the memories of a 1948 Palestinian Muslim.
Three weeks after that first trip to Israel Palestine, I became a citizen
journalist because somebody had to report what the media was ignoring.
On March 27, 2010, the U.S. based, "Global News Service of the Jewish
people" the JTA, Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Anat Kam, a
23 year old journalist has been held under secret house arrest by Israel
since last December based on allegations that during her military service
she leaked classified documents suggesting the Israeli Forces violated
laws dealing with targeted killings.
Kam was arrested in December
2009 and charged under Israel’s espionage and treason laws while she was
working as a reporter for the Israeli site Walla, which had been partially
owned by Haaretz until the week prior. The charges stem from when Kam
served in the Israeli army, and it is alleged she photocopied sensitive
“Bloggers speculated that the documents she allegedly
photocopied served as the basis for a November 2008 article Haaretz story
suggesting alleged army violations. Kam has denied the charges and her
arrest has been under a gag order in Israel.
censor, which prevents publication of information that could harm Israel’s
national security, approved the Haaretz story for publication. By
contrast, Israeli courts have gagged not only the details of Kam’s arrest,
but news of the arrest itself.” 
On April 1, 2010, The New
York Times followed up with the JTA/Jewish Telegraphic Agency, because the
JTA, "is not subject to the gag order...According to people familiar with
the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the gag order,
Kam is accused of copying classified documents while she was a soldier and
leaking them to the Haaretz daily. The newspaper published a story that
accused the military of defying an Israeli Supreme Court ruling against
killing wanted Palestinian militants who could have been captured alive.
A November 2008 Haaretz story suggested the military had unilaterally
loosened its rules of engagement and marked militants for assassination…
“Despite the gag order, Israeli media appear to be well-acquainted
with the case. Yediot Ahronot, another Israeli daily, hinted toward the
brewing saga for the first time Thursday with a story headlined ‘What does
the Shin Bet not want you to know?’ and directing readers to the JTA's
article on the Internet. The Shin Bet, Israel's internal security agency,
declined to comment…
“Israeli courts are typically wary of
allowing publication of material deemed sensitive to national security.
While the mainstream media formally comply with the rulings, they often
get around restrictions by citing foreign reports, and material often
finds its way to the blogosphere.
“The secrecy surrounding Kam's
detention is reminiscent of the arrest of Mordechai Vanunu [who] was
kidnapped by Israeli intelligence agents in Rome and taken back to Israel
to stand trial behind closed doors…Some details of the Vanunu affair are
still under wraps domestically.” 
Haaretz's has filed a
request to lift the gag order and court is scheduled for April 12, 2010 to
hear the plea regarding the Kam affair.
Vanunu was released from
18 years in a tomb sized windowless cell on April 21, 2004 and as of this
writing he is still waiting for the right to leave the state.
total of 1,200 pages of transcript of Vanunu’s 1986 closed door trial have
Defense witness and the Sunday Times journalist who
broke Vanunu’s news in 1986, that Israel was a major nuclear power, Peter
Hounam, said, "It is clear that, as far as Vanunu's accusers are
concerned, the trial is not only about whether this decision to reveal the
secrets of Israel's atom bomb amounted to treason and espionage, it is
also about whether his decision to become a Christian was at the root of
his alleged treachery".
Within minutes of emerging from his 18
years in jail-most all in solitary-Vanunu announced, "I am not harming
Israel. I am not interested in Israel. I want to tell you something very
important. I suffered here 18 years because I am a Christian, because I
was baptised into Christianity. If I was a Jew I wouldn't have all this
suffering here in isolation for 18 years. Only because I was a Christian
In a 2003, BBC documentary Peter Hounam noted, “Vanunu
told the world that Israel had developed between one hundred and two
hundred atomic bombs and had gone on to develop neutron bombs and
thermonuclear weapons. Enough to destroy the entire Middle East and nobody
has done anything about it since.”
On January 25, 2006, after
nearly two years of speaking with hundreds, perhaps thousands of
foreigners since his release from prison, Vanunu was convicted by the
Jerusalem Magistrates Court of 15 violations of a military order that had
prohibited him from talking to non-Israelis.
Vanunu was also
charged with attempting to "leave the state" while taking a cab from
Jerusalem to Bethlehem to attend Christmas Eve mass at the Church of the
Nativity in 2004. He has no passport or visa and was only carrying a Santa
The original indictment included 22 different violations;
Vanunu was charged with 19 and acquitted of four. He was acquitted of
speaking to foreign nationals on the internet and via video and voice
On July 2, 2007, Israel sentenced Vanunu to six more
months in jail for speaking to foreign media in 2004.
September 23, 2008, the Jerusalem District Court reduced Vanunu’s sentence
to three months, "In light of (Vanunu’s) ailing health and the absence of
claims that his actions put the country’s security in jeopardy."
On June 14, 2009, while I was in east Jerusalem, Vanunu and he told me,
“The Central Commander of the General Army testified in court that it is
OK if I speak in public as long as I do not talk about nuclear weapons.”
On July 6, 2009, Israeli Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish
continued to deny Vanunu the right to leave the state claiming that, "case
is still generating great interest, like any other security-related case.
The media's attention he gets is proof of that."
I phoned Vanunu
after reading that bad news and he said, "You have freedom of speech and
freedom of movement. Do what you want. But I am not publishing anything.
Everything is already on the Internet."
The very next day, July
7, 2009, my Facebook account was deactivated while I was posting my video
interviews with Vanunu and posing the question, “Have you eyes to see and
ears to hear Vanunu on video in 2005, 2006, 2008?’
replied to my multiple email inquiries asking “why was I
deactivated/deleted/censored while posting to a Cause and Group I created
and was the only Administrator of?”
On December 14, 2009 Vanunu
returned to the Israeli Supreme Court and I phoned him and learned he
expected their decision regarding the three month sentence "in a few
weeks" and he was confident he will be freed as "they have no case against
On December 21, 2009, Uzi Eilam, a former head of Israel's
Atomic Energy Commission stated Vanunu "served the regime because his
revelations helped Tel Aviv intimidate others...I've always believed he
should be let go. I don't think he has significant knowledge to reveal
(about Dimona) now." 
On December 29, 2009, Israel arrested
Vanunu again. His attorney Avigdor Feldman said, "Vanunu was arrested
(for) a relationship between a man and a woman, with a Norwegian citizen,
He is not being accused of giving any secrets."
Vanunu was placed
under house arrest for three days and it will be six years on April 21,
2010 that Vanunu has waited for the right to leave the state and begin a
Israel's statehood was contingent upon upholding the UN
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive
and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the
borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country,
including his own, and to return to his country.
Vanunu has waited twenty-four years for the media
to follow up on his 1985 photos of the Dimona and 1986 testimony regarding
Israel's development of up to two hundred atomic bombs and the fact that
Israel was already in process of developing neutron bombs and thermonuclear
Much more than enough to destroy the entire world and
nobody has done anything about it since.
Only in Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world
Correspondent for Arabisto.com
Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs
of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
"30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"