Decision on Pollard Petition Delayed
March 3, 1998 - Batsheva Tsur - The Jerusalem Post
Despite an emotional outburst by Esther Zeitz-Pollard, the High Court of
Justice yesterday morning postponed a decision on a petition from her
husband, convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, requesting that he be
recognized as an Israeli agent.
Instead, the court agreed to a request from the state that it be granted
a further 60 days to allow a ministerial committee to formulate its
policy on securing Pollard's release and put it into action. But Justice
Yitzchak Zamir suggested that the ministerial committee, rather than the
court, might be the correct forum for a declaration that Pollard was an
agent, Zeitz-Pollard said after the closed hearings ended.
Jonathan Pollard reacted strongly to the court decision in a telephone
conversation with his wife yesterday afternoon.
"The Supreme Court threw me out just as I was thrown out by the [Israeli]
Embassy [in Washington] 13 years ago. Their failure to take
responsibility and act honorably closes the circle that began with the
Defense Ministry's abandoning me, then with the political echelon.... They are playing with my life," he said.
Zeitz-Pollard, who said she was overcome with emotion, shouted out at
the justices: "Do you want Jonathan to die?", causing Justice Eliezer
Goldberg to threaten to throw her out of the courtroom. She said later that the [justices] dont understand that Jonathan's life is threatened every day in jail.
Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein said yesterday evening that he would
demand that the ministerial committee announce that Pollard was an agent
and ask the prime minister to take responsibility for securing his
release. Pollard should be brought to Israel during the Jubilee year,
Edelstein said. The committee is due to meet within the coming week.
Pollard is serving a life sentence in a Butner, North Carolina, prison
for spying on the US for Israel. On October 29, when the court first
heard his petition for state recognition as an Israeli agent, the
government was given 60 days to respond. But the court reconvened only
yesterday. In his response to the court, Uzi Fogelman, head of the
Justice Ministry's High Court Division, said that new steps had been
taken meanwhile: a ministerial committee had been formed to secure
Pollard's release and Edelstein and Communications Minister Limor Livnat
had visited him in jail.
Fogelman, according to Zeitz-Pollard, promised the court that Pollard's
lawyers and wife would be intimately involved in the committee's actions.
"It is time for Israel to come out of the closet," MK Ophir Pines, head of
the Knesset lobby for Pollard said yesterday evening. Pines said he plans to bring a resolution to the Knesset to recognize Pollard as an agent for whom the government has responsibility. This will give backing to efforts to release him, Pines said.
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