Gov't Statement Said First Step On Road To Pollard Release
May 13, 1998 - Steve Rodan - The Jerusalem Post
Israel's acknowledgment that Jonathan Pollard was an authorized Israeli
agent - rather than a volunteer in a rogue operation - is the first step
in what could be a complicated effort to secure his release. The next
step is for negotiations between Israel and the US on Washington's
Pollard's release. The talks could begin as early as today, when cabinet
secretary Dan Naveh, who is accompanying Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, arrives in Washington.
Until now, the Clinton administration has refused to even consider any
of Israel's appeals for Pollard's release. The White House, directed by
the American intelligence community, first insisted on a clear statement
of Israeli responsibility and full cooperation in examining what
intelligence documents Pollard handed over to Israel.
Monday night's communique by the Prime Minister's Office did not use
language of the past - that Pollard was employed in a rogue operation
of which the Israeli government was not aware. It also identified
Pollard as an agent, rather than someone who volunteered information on
an ad hoc basis.
"Until the government came clean with the truth, there was no chance of
freeing Pollard," his attorney Larry Dub said.
The communique was a victory for Naveh over Defense Ministry officials,
including Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai. Several weeks ago, the
Prime Minister's Office was about to release another statement that
fudged the issue of Pollard's handlers and was merely limited to an
Israeli appeal for his release on humanitarian grounds. Pollard opposed
that statement so vociferously that Naveh did not release it. Instead,
for the next several weeks, he and other officials drafted numerous
texts that would satisfy the US demand that Israel admit complicity.
Sources said virtually every word was examined and numerous drafts were
written until a committee of five
ministers received the final text. They said Netanyahu, Justice Minister
Tzahi Hanegbi, Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein, and Communications
Minister Limor Livnat voted for the text. The only dissenting vote was
cast by Mordechai.
But the communique opens a new set of difficulties. Sources expect
Israel and the US to engage in secret and intense negotiations over
Pollard's release. The US set of demands is expected to be long and will
clearly include the return of all the documents Pollard, then a civilian
US Naval Intelligence, gave Jerusalem before his arrest in 1985. The FBI
believes it has virtually a complete list of the documents. Pollard, who
has a photographic memory, (Justice for Jonathan Pollard note: this is a
nonsensical canard created by former US attorney Joseph DiGenova as a
nonsequitor to keep Jonathan in prison forever. Scientifically, the
concept of a photographic memory is pure fiction!) underwent 52
polygraph tests after his arrest and is said to have told his
interrogators all he knows.
Other US demands will be renewed commitments that Israel not spy on the
US or use American citizens for espionage operations. American officials
are expected to demand strict limitations on Pollard once he is freed.
But the overriding sentiment now is that Washington wants to solve the
Pollard problem. He has been in jail since 1985, his intelligence
information is clearly dated and, most of all, American Jewish leaders
want Pollard freed. The assessment is that Clinton might release him as
a gesture to help Vice President Al Gore win Jewish support for his
presidential campaign in 2000.