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Sunday, 11 October 2009

Israel's New Chemistry Laureate calls for Release of All Palestinian Prisoners

I guess it is inevitable but when I heard that an Israeli scientist, Professor Ada Yonath, had received the Nobel Prize, my heart sank a little. She was head of research in the field of structural biology and biochemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and was therefore almost certainly involved in some part of the industrial military complex. Now some people will say this is bigoted and prejudiced, but it is a fact that science and military in Israel go together like Hans and Gretel. So what a pleasant surprise that Prof. Yonath is a pacifist who has almost immediately called for the release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Below is the report from Haaretz and from the settler Israel News which of course puts the words 'terrorist' into her mouth.
Tony Greenstein

Israeli Nobel Laureate calls for release of all Hamas prisoners
Haaretz 10 Oct 2009

Israeli Nobel Prize for chemistry laureate Professor Ada Yonath on Saturday said all Hamas prisoners held in Israel should be released in order to bring Gilad Shalit home.

“I don’t understand why we incarcerate them in Israel in the first place,” the professor told Army Radio Saturday.

She added that “all prisoners should be returned to Palestine regardless of a deal for Gilad Shalit’s release.”

Yonath was interviewed on the weekly Saturday radio show about her thoughts in general regarding the Middle East conflict and called for a “change in the status quo.” She said that holding Palestinians captive encourages and perpetuates their motivation to harm Israel and its citizens.

“If we hold Palestinian prisoners captive for years on end, their familys’ resentment for Israel will grow and we are actively creating terrorists,” the Nobel Laureate suggested.

She also said that if we cease from incarcerating Palestinians it will end soldier abductions. “Once we don’t have any prisoners to release they will have no reason to kidnap soldiers.”
Yonath described many Palestinian lives as having “no hope for the future,” and said that “in a state of such despair they have every reason to jump at the opportunity to better their prospects for a better afterlife.”

Nobel Prize Winner: Release all Terrorists from Jail
by Gil Ronen

Professor Ada Yonath, who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry last week, wasted no time in using her newly found fame to air her political views. In an interview Saturday on Army Radio station (Galei Tzahal) she opined that Israel should release all the terrorists incarcerated in its jails.

"We need to think of ways that people will not have motivation to go and kill and be killed,”

Yonath said.
“It is is not just a political matter. These people are people who usually do not have a horizon, they have no hope, they have no reason to want to live and therefore they do not care that others will not live, and at the same time maybe they will also go to heaven and receive some rewards. This does not happen to people who have options for life, who have a life in which they at least have the possibility of hope. We can change that.”
Yonath seemed to dispute the very term “terrorist” when she said that regardless of the question of releasing captive Sgt. Gilad Shalit, “anyone who sits in our jails who is not just a criminal but what we call a terrorist, with or without blood on his hands – and these definitions are also unclear to me – should not be sitting in our custody.”

She added: “As for the argument that they will go back to crime, or what you call terror, I believe that there are enough [terrorists] without them. I think that when a young man or woman sits in our jails for years, his or her family gets angry and we create additional terrorists.”

Using terminology which is often heard in “gender studies” academic circles, Yonath drew a connection between her gender and her pacifist views. “As a person, as a woman, as a mother – but mainly as a person – it pains me that a sweet guy [like Shalit] is in jail for three years, or is a hostage, and I do not know if we see him returning and I do not understand why he is there.”

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