- Comments by freed nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu that Israel
was behind the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy failed to
bring smiles to government officials Sunday.
- One would expect that such claims would portray Vanunu
as a man with a credibility problem, but as far as the defense establishment
is concern, the former nuclear technician still has secrets to reveal and
a declared goal of ending Israel's nuclear program. He shouldn't be talking
to the media and is actually barred from meeting with foreigners.
- Nevertheless, the London-base al-Hayat published Sunday
an interview is claims it had with Vanunu.
- According to the interview which appeared in its Arabic
supplement Al-Wassat, Vanunu said that according to "near-certain
indications", Kennedy was assassinated due to "pressure he exerted
on then head of government, David Ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona's
- "We do not know which irresponsible Israeli prime
minister will take office and decide to use nuclear weapons in the struggle
against neighboring Arab countries," Vanunu was quoted as saying.
"What has already been exposed about the weapons Israel is holding
can destroy the region and kill millions."
- Vanunu also said that the reactor in Dimona, where he
worked, could become a second "Chernobyl."
- He said that an earthquake could cause fissures to the
core and that would cause a massive radiation leak threatening millions.
- Vanunu warned that Jordan should test the residents along
the border with Israel for exposure to radiation and give them pills just
like Israel decided to do for its citizens.
- Vanunu also criticized the visit to Israel early this
month by the head of the Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed el-Baradei.
- "He (Baradei) should have refused to have visited
Israel (because) he was not allowed to inspect the nuclear reactor,"
- According to al-Hayat, Vanunu now lives "with his
Palestinian friends" in east Jerusalem.
- It was not clear how al-Hayat did the interview, which
the publication claimed with the first Vanunu has granted to a newspaper
since his release from Ashkelon prison last April.
- Vanunu has been barred from granting interviews to foreign
- But until now, no steps were being planned against Vanunu.
- "The statements that Vanunu made will be examined
and if it is determined that he violated the law or his restrictions, then
steps against him will be considered," a Justice Ministry statement
- Defense officials Sunday refused to discuss Vanunu's
latest interview. But they have in the past expressed concern that Vanunu's
comments, as nonsensical as they may be, would be dangerous since it would
be taken as credible.
- "It's a question of time until he incriminates himself.
This was not the objective. If he's arrested it won't be over nonsense.
If he's detained then it'll be for real," a security official said.
- "Vanunu is still obligated to state secrecy."
- "If he gives an interview and talks about prison
conditions, that's OK. But if he moves on to the Dimona reactor, then that's
off limits. Don't worry, we'll known," the official said.
- The official said that the security establishment is
opposed to him giving interviews because "even his nonsense can get
us into trouble."
- Still, these comments were better than they hoped for.
Claims that Israel was behind JFK's 1963 assassination can totally discredit
- "The opinions on Vanunu are divided," said
Ra'anan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
- "Some say let him speak and it adds to the ambiguity
policy, while others say the more he speaks the more he raises tensions,
particularly in the current atmosphere."
- Gissin said that serious people understood that Vanunu
was speaking nonsense and his comments on JFK were not worthy of a reaction.
- "This is something you would expect from (Yasser)
Arafat," Gissin said.
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