Israeli attorney general resigns from 'Free Pollard' committee

February 11, 1998 - AP

The attorney general has resigned from a government panel trying to free Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, after being accused of responsibility for Pollard's arrest.

Eliakim Rubinstein was the most senior diplomat present when the FBI arrested Pollard outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington in 1985. Pollard had attempted to escape into the compound, but its iron gates were ordered shut.

In a recent letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pollard wrote: "Eliakim Rubinstein is not a disinterested party. He bears direct responsibility for the events that led to my bitter fate."

It has not been established whether Rubinstein, now Israel's attorney general, ordered security guards to close the embassy gate.

In response to Pollard's letter, Rubinstein resigned from a ministerial committee trying to secure Pollard's release, Yitzhak Feller, an aide to Immigrant Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein, said Wednesday. Edelstein is a member of the panel.

Pollard, a former U.S. naval analyst, supplied Israel with classified U.S. military documents in the 1980s and is serving a life prison term in Butner, N.C.

He has asked Israel to take responsibility for his espionage. Israeli leaders maintain that Pollard acted without official Israeli sanction.

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