Joint Netanyahu-Baraq Appeal for Pollard Pardon Initiated

Tel Aviv Ma'ariv, January 10, 1999
Arye Bender, Ya'aqov Galanti, Ron Levin

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Labor Party Chairman

Ehud Barak

are expected to jointly call on US President Bill Clinton to pardon Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a prison sentence in the United States after being convicted of spying for Israel. US security and legal officials are slated to submit their recommendation in this regard to Clinton tomorrow, so that he can decide whether pollard's sentence should be commuted. Israeli officials are anxiously awaiting Clinton's decision, especially in light of the fact that some US officials oppose Pollard's early release.

Baraq and Netanyahu's joint call was initiated by Immigrant Absorption

Minister Yuly Edelstein, who spearheads the government's struggle for Pollard's release. Netanyahu has already confirmed that he will sign the letter and today it will be submitted to Baraq by Knesset Member [Mk] Ofir Pines, Chairman of the Parliamentary Lobby for Pollard. MK Pines told Ma'ariv yesterday: "this morning I will take the issue to MK Baraq, and I have good cause to believe that he will willingly join the initiative. I don't believe that Baraq will refuse to sign such a letter." Sources in Baraq's bureau said that Baraq has not received the letter yet and therefore cannot refer to the issue.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Ma'ariv, Netanyahu and Baraq Ask Clinton "to put an end to the tragic suffering of our incarcerated brother Jonathan Pollard, whose future is currently being reexamined by your office." The letter to the president says that the people of Israel and all the Israeli political parties are united in their determination to put an end to Pollard's suffering after having spent 14 years in a US prison, most of them in solitary confinement.

The letter hints that at Wye Plantation Clinton has actually promised to release Pollard if Israel and the Palestinians reach an agreement.

"The Israeli government believes that the Pollard problem was solved at Wye Plantation," the letter says.

The letter expresses the hope that when deciding about Pollard's fate,Clinton will take into consideration "The great concessions" Israel has made toward the signing of the Wye agreement.

In contacts held yesterday in Jerusalem, it was agreed that this morning Edelstein will have Netanyahu sign the letter, while MK Ofir Pines will obtain Baraq's signature. After this the letter will be sent expeditiously to the US president.

See Also:
  • Text of Joint Netanyahu-Barak Letter to Clinton
  • Barak Caves In To Americans and Betrays Pollard