Payback for Pollard

Ha'aretz - December 7, 1998 - Akiva Eldar

...Clinton's announcement last weekend that he had decided to review Pollard's pardon request should be seen in the context of the crisis over the release of the Palestinian prisoners. The Americans know that, formally speaking, Netanyahu is right this time. Nowhere in the Wye accord is it written "security prisoners." The Palestinians are paying for their failure to learn that you don't make gentleman's agreements with people like Netanyahu. On the other hand, the US Administration does not think it is smart on Netanyahu's part to humiliate 'Arafat by releasing petty thieves.

Clinton understood from Netanyahu that Pollard could be the security prisoners' stairway to freedom. In other words, his "misunderstanding" with 'Arafat over the Palestinian prisoners is Netanyahu's revenge against Clinton for the "misunderstanding" over Pollard. The support for Israel's position in the disagreement over the prisoners voiced by the State Department spokesman confirmed the political level's assessment: Clinton is prepared to go to great lengths to save the agreement...

Excerpted from Akiva Eldar's column Dec 7 1998 Ha'aretz Hebrew Edition.