Pollard Asks PM And Barak To Cooperate On His Release
December 18, 1997 - Yerah Tal - Ha'aretz
Communications Minister Limor Livnat
met Wednesday with Jonathan Pollard in his prison in North Carolina,
where he is serving a life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel.
Livnat was the second minister to meet with Pollard, who met with
Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein two weeks ago.
For the first time, the prison authorities allowed
media coverage of a meeting with Pollard, letting a pool of two
reporters document the meeting with tape recorders and still cameras,
but not video or television cameras.
Livnat protested having to undergo a security
check upon entering. The meeting was held in the prison meetingroom, and
was also attended by Jonathan's wife, Esther. Pollard's hair was long,
he was wearing a skullcap and a prisoner's uniform and seemed in good
health. Livnat hugged and kissed him.
The meeting was held in the presence of a U.S.
Navy soldier, but he did not interfere in the conversation. Pollard told
Livnat that he felt like an agent betrayed and abandoned by his
operators. He asked Livnat to appeal in his name to Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and to the head of the opposition, Ehud Barak, to
join forces to act for his release.
Pollard also called upon Netanyahu
and Barak to cooperate with the U.S. Jewish organizations to
influence Congress to act for his release from prison. Pollard said there was no reason for him to continue serving a prison sentence after 13 years, adding that Colonel Schwartz, the American who spied for Saudi Arabia, had been released.
"I am extremely sorry for what happened. I don't
believe that anybody who has experienced what I have experienced over
the past 13 years could feel anything but profound sorrow and remorse,"
Pollard said. He added that his motives for spying for Israel were that
some elements in the U.S. administration "wanted to blind Israel and
hide information of serious threats to it." He added, "these people will
want me to continue sitting in prison so
that they can continue talking about double
loyalty while pointing a finger at Israel."
There was no fear of him revealing any secrets
upon being released, he said. "I don't know anything. What could I
possibly know that the Americans are not aware of?"
Pollard slammed Foreign Minister David Levy for
his ministry's criticism of ministers' pilgrimages to the prison, based
on the argument that it angered the Americans. He said, "Levy wants to
build a bridge, but a bridge like that of the Maccabiah (sports event),
which was foolishly planned and collapsed under the feet of those who
walked on it.", Livnat joined Pollard in her criticism of the Foreign
Ministry, calling the leaking of information impertinence.
She emphasized that she came with the prime minister's
approval and delivered a letter of support from him. In his letter,
Netanyahu repeated his promise that the government would spare no effort
to bring about Pollard's release.