Rabin Favors Call For Pollard's Release

The Jewish Western Bulletin (Vancouver, BC) - July 30, 1992
Compiled from Dispatches

Tel Aviv

- Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and foreign minister Shimon Peres were urged to ask American secretary of state James Baker, during his visit to Israel last week, for the early release on humanitarian grounds of naval intelligence officer Jonathan Pollard.

The request came from the Israeli Public Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard, reported the Israeli daily Haaretz. "The subject will be dealt with very soon," predicted the newspaper.

"There are more signs that President [George] Bush is likely to grant clemency or a commutation of Pollard's sentence," said Amnon Dror, a chief activist on the committee. Many credit a New York rally in late June for putting momentum in their favor.

Earlier, Rabin's predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir, made an unprecedented personal appeal in a letter to Bush for Pollard's release on humanitarian grounds, according to the Jerusalem Post. The act may have been Shamir's last communication with Bush before he left office this month, the newspaper wrote. According to Haaretz, Shamir's appeal was made with Rabin's agreement.

The Post quoted "well-placed sources" as saying the letter did not deal with other issues, such as summarizing the rocky relationship between the two leaders or bidding Bush good-bye, the paper said. No other details of Shamir's plea were available.

Shamir had previously held back on any personal appeal to the United States to free Pollard, perhaps fearing it might endanger American-Israel relations, it was speculated in Jerusalem. But during the Persian Gulf War, he allowed aide Elyakim Rubinstein to discuss the issue with visiting deputy secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger and say that Pollard helped reveal information on Iraqi chemical weapons.

Given life prison sentence in 1986 for spying for Israel, Pollard is being held in a maximum security prison in Illinois. Israelis campaigning to free him have heard that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear Pollard's appeal against a lower court ruling disallowing him from withdrawing his earlier plea bargain.

J4JP Note

: (added December 2001) Amnon Dror is not a private individual nor a volunteer advocate. He is a secret service representative of the Government of Israel. Dror's real task is at odds with seeking Jonathan's release. He is charged by the government with "managing" the Pollard case to keep it quiet and low profile. The Public Committee that Dror claims to head is just a cover for his operation.