Alleged Efforts to Obtain Pollard's Release

September 8, 1998 - IsraelWire

According to a Jerusalem Post report, government officials have held high-level meetings with United States officials, as efforts to obtain the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard continue.

Vice President Al Gore and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger were reported to have met recently with Minister of Trade Natan Sharansky. The meetings reportedly took place in July. The post reports that in response to a US request, the meeting was kept quiet.

Minister of Immigration and Absorption Yuli Edelshtein is scheduled to leave on Wednesday for the United States, where he will begin increasing Israeli efforts to obtain Pollard's release.

Edelshtein was the first minister of an Israeli government to ever visit Pollard, when he did so last year. The efforts of the minister, a former Prisoner of Conscience, has been a leading voice among government officials that led to the official [Israeli] government statement acknowledging that Pollard was indeed an Israeli agent and was not acting on his own when gathering intelligence information for Israel.

The Post also reported that Pollard's wife, Esther Pollard, denounced Edelstein's planned visit as "a smoke screen designed to fool the Israeli public."

Mrs. Pollard pointed out that no groundwork was laid for the trip, further explaining that no contact was made with representatives of AIPAC or other organizations.

Esther Pollard stated that Prime Minister Netanyahu has failed to fulfill his promises to date and that the planned trip of the absorption minister was another charade.

In a letter from Mrs. Pollard, dated September 8th, to the Post, she adds, "The recent meetings of Vice President Al Gore and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, with senior government officials to discuss the possible release of ...Jonathan Pollard, were neither recent nor were they specifically held for this purpose. Rather, these meetings were on other business and the Pollard issue was incidental. Reporting otherwise, is to stretch the truth so badly that it bears no relation to anything that actually occurred.

"If the Government of Israel were serious about securing Jonathan Pollard's release, then the last thing that is needed is this kind of public grandstanding. What is needed is a quiet serious initiative, fully sponsored by AIPAC, and backed with full powers of negotiation, at the appropriate level.

"The fact that Government of Israel is once again lobbying the American Jewish Organizations instead of pressing the White House to release its agent underscores the futility of this initiative."