'Vanunu release has little effect on disseminating Israeli nuclear arsenal'

DUBAI - Several political analysts believe that the release of Mordechi Vanunu on Wednesday, after 18 years of imprisonment, will have little or no effect on disseminating the Israeli Nuclear arsenal.

By Mahmoud Ali

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Published: Fri 23 Apr 2004, 1:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:09 PM

Dr Ragheed Al Solh, Political Affairs Officer in United Nation's ESCWA in Beirut told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview: "Vanunu must have forgotten the information he had, as he was being kept in isolation and wasn't allowed to contact anyone. His importance as a source for the Israeli nuclear secrets has diminished over the years. He has now become more a symbol of anti-nuclear weapons and humanity issues."

Dr Issam Al Shanti, expert in the Arab Israeli Conflict in the Gulf Research Center, Dubai said: "Vanunu does not want to live in Israel any more. He asked for a passport and wants to open a new page forgetting all what happened and not talk about it."

Dr Shanti believes that some countries are troubled by Vanunu and there might be some plans to assassinate him. Vanunu has been prohibited from leaving the country and banned from using mobile phones and the Internet. Furthermore, he is not allowed to give a Press conference on his future plans.

"From my point of view, Israel either has a great number of nuclear weapons or has nothing. In both cases it fears Vanunu's information which can be a big deal for them," commented Dr Solh, but Dr Shanti on the other hand believed that Israeli nuclear arsenal is not a secret to be revealed anymore.

Since the 1980's and the 1990's, the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has been declaring that Israel has more than 200 nuclear warheads. Israel is fearful that a "terrorist organisation might use Vanunu to attack their nuclear factories".

Mordechi Vanunu was released by the Israeli government after they accused him of treason and espionage.

Vanunu, an Israeli Jew who converted to Christianity recently, worked at Dimona Nuclear Power Plant in the occupied land of Palestine, from 1976 to 1985 as a technician.

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