Empty Gestures Won't Bring Pollard Home
January 5, 1999 - Middle East Newsline - Steve Rodan
ISRAEL TO MAKE ANOTHER EFFORT TO FREE POLLARD
The government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
has renewed lobbying efforts to win the release Jonathan Pollard as
President Clinton prepares to review the
life sentence given to the
former Naval Intelligence analyst.
The Israeli initiative will lobby members of the Clinton administration
and Congress to release Pollard after serving more than 13 years in
"We are talking of an initiative that is based on humanitarian
considerations," Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein, the minister
coordinating the government effort, said. "We are asking an Israeli
citizen that committed a serious crime according to U.S. law but has
served his sentence."
Edelstein said in its latest initiative the government continues to
stress the humanitarian aspects of the Pollard case.
Diplomatic and congressional sources in Washington said the Israeli
effort has little chance of succeeding. They said that Clinton is not
expected to overrule the objections of his aides and approve the release of Pollard.
Pollard was convicted of relaying U.S. military data to Israel and was sentenced to life in prison despite a plea bargain deal. Clinton pledged to Netanyahu in October that he would review the Pollard case in
A senior Israeli source said the Clinton administration appears unlikely to even seriously consider the Israeli arguments. "We're talking about a period where there are elections in Israel and an impeachment process in Washington," the source said. "In this atmosphere, there is little willingness to listen."
Justice For Jonathan Pollard adds: This Israeli initiative is nothing more than pre-election posturing for public consumption. If the Government of Israel were serious, the initiative would be taking place behind the scenes in the US, not in the Israeli media.
It is inexcusable that what should be occurring, is not taking place at all - namely: quiet behind-the-scenes intensive lobbying and negotiation by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his top aides with President Clinton and his top people. Empty gestures in the Israeli media are not taken seriously by the US, and will not bring Jonathan Pollard home. This kind
of weak and unconvincing effort won't fool the Israeli people either.