Pollard Appeals to Israel Court

April 30, 1997 - Gwen Ackerman - The Jerusalem Post

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard petitioned the Supreme Court today to force Israel to recognize him as an Israeli agent and step up efforts to win his release from an American jail.

"We hope to light a fire under the Israeli government to fulfill their commitments and their promises to Jonathan Pollard,'' his lawyer, Larry Dub, told The Associated Press.

Pollard, 42, a former U.S. Navy analyst, is serving a life sentence for passing U.S. military secrets to Israel. The former South Bend resident has been in jail in the United States since 1985.

Pollard's wife Esther told Israel's army radio that Israel has not done enough to release her husband, who is suffering from arthritis and developing glaucoma.

"He has been sitting there for 12 years. There has been no progress. The situation is one of helplessness. They promise and do nothing,'' she said.

Pollard's appeal asks the court to order Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly name Pollard as an Israeli agent and specify what is being done to get him released.

Netanyahu said in a statement today that he has worked for years to win Pollard's release and brings up the subject during every visit to Washington and at every meeting with U.S. administration officials.

"The prime minister will continue to do all he can to bring Jonathan Pollard to Israel,'' the statement said.

Pollard's petition also accuses the Israeli government of "breach of promise'' for refusing to continue funding Pollard's defense and supporting his wife, Dub said.

"We hope that the result of filing this appeal will be that the government will take his case more seriously and will fulfill commitments to bring about the release and to discuss his release with the American officials at every opportunity,'' Dub said.

Pollard is currently being held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C. President Clinton rejected a clemency plea by Pollard in July 1996, citing the enormity of Pollard's crime, his lack of remorse and the damage he caused U.S. security.

Before his election, Netanyahu promised Mrs. Pollard he would prod the Americans to free her husband. But Mrs. Pollard said the prime minister has disappointed her.

In trips to the United States and in meetings with Clinton, "he didn't even whisper his name,'' she said. "When we asked his advisers they said it is not the right time. It is never the right time to talk about Jonathan Pollard.''

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