Sources: There was a tacit deal to release Pollard
October 25, 1998 - The Jerusalem Post - Batsheva Tsur & Danna Harman
There was a tacit
about Jonathan Pollard's release between President Bill
and Israel, which tied the release to the
implementation of the
Wye Memorandum, a source in Jerusalem said last night.
But at no stage did Clinton speak of Pollard being
immediately, the source said. Friday's showdown over
release will further delay it, the source added.
"The expectation was that, as each side implemented its
the agreement, there would be 'humanitarian' gestures,"
source said. Thus, for example, Clinton was expected to
announce the release of Pollard and Egyptian President
Mubarak would announce the release of Azzam Azzam,
Israel set free the 750 Palestinian prisoners, the
This would have made it much simpler for Clinton to win
approval of Congress. The Republicans had indicated
not resist the release as long as Pollard was not
turned into a
hero. However, it was also thought Clinton would wait
until the end
of November so the Democrats would not be embarrassed
Pollard issue during the upcoming elections, the source
"There was certainly no intention that Pollard would
return to Israel
on Netanyahu's plane and be met with the fanfare of the
and a red carpet," the source said. "The matter, it had
agreed, would be kept discreet."
Senior Israeli sources said that Clinton had promised
Pollard several weeks ago, when Netanyahu last met him
Washington. According to the sources, Clinton
commitment on Thursday and Israel felt it had an
with the president.
A US official said that, while Clinton may have been
allow Pollard's release, the interference of several
players - such as CIA chief George Tenet and House
Newt Gingrich - stayed his hand.
News of Pollard's possible release as part of the Wye
apparently was leaked by a senior member of the prime
minister's delegation to someone in Israel, who then
passed it on
to Israel Radio reporter Gil Litman.
Allison Kaplan Sommer adds:
A link between the redeployment negotiations and
release was first publicized this summer, when Esther
The Jerusalem Post that Israeli officials had told her
husband's case would be raised with the US as the last
in an agreement on a further IDF redeployment.
was said to have explained it, the US would make some
last-minute demands for concessions from the Israelis
include a full handover of 13.1 percent of the West
Bank to the
Palestinian Authority. In response, Israel would demand