Clinton To Review Pollard Case Today
January 19, 1999 - The Jerusalem Post - Batsheva Tsur
JERUSALEM (January 19) - Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu has instructed his staff to begin high-level
meetings with the US intelligence community over
accusations that Israel did not return all classified
documents passed on by Jonathan Pollard. It is hoped
the meetings will facilitate the release of the
spy, Pollard's lawyer, Larry Dub, said after meeting
with Netanyahu yesterday.
President Bill Clinton is today to review the
possibility of releasing Pollard.
The prime minister's legal adviser, Shimon Stern, and
other senior officials were instructed to discuss with
the US administration claims that Israel did not return all
of the highly secret material which Pollard passed to it,
including a key surveillance manual containing
encryption codes, Dub said. According to an article in
The New Yorker, the manual was described as so
secret that it had never been mentioned in public.
Netanyahu plans to take action to combat what he sees
as a disinformation campaign being waged in
Washington, Dub said. He said that the charges in The
New Yorker article, that the documents were sold to the
highest bidder, were a slur not only against Pollard
but against the Israeli authorities.
Dub said he had appealed directly to Clinton, and had
also written twice to White House Counsel Charles Ruff.
He said he had also twice requested meetings with
Craig Iscoe of the Justice Department
[*NOT TRUE!] and
was surprised that there were charges that he had not
presented Pollard's view to the US Justice Department
in anticipation of the review of the release
At his meeting with Dub, Netanyahu reiterated his
dissatisfaction with Labor Party leader for
failing to sign a joint letter to Clinton on Pollard.
According to sources close to Netanyahu, Barak was
afraid that, should Pollard be released as a result of
the joint plea, Netanyahu would bask in the pre-election
"Pollard was sent by the State of Israel," Netanyahu
said. "This is not a political issue. Israel has to be
responsible for bringing him home. We do not leave our
wounded soldiers in the field."
He said it was essential that Barak sign the letter on
the day that Clinton is reviewing the question of Pollard's
Barak responded on Israel Radio that the public
declarations about Pollard had merely "buried him
deeper." Barak said he believes in quiet diplomacy.
When he met Clinton during his recent visit to Israel,
Barak said, he had discussed Pollard with him.
"Most events don't take place on television, but rather
through hard work on real issues with real people,"
Barak said without relating directly to the question of
MK Yossi Beilin (Labor), who criticized Netanyahu's
attacks on Barak over the letter, said that "the media
circus around Pollard is part of those publicized
events that merely delay Pollard's release."
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, a former chairman of the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Organizations, said he is "bitterly disappointed" that
Barak refused to sign a bipartisan plea to Clinton to
commute Pollard's sentence.
"Are there no issues of national interest which
transcend Israel's stormy partisan politics?" Schindler wrote in a statement received by The Jerusalem Post. "Should
Pollard be allowed to languish in jail even a day
for fear that a political opponent might gain an edge?
"Barak's failure to support the Yuli Edelstein
initiative does scant honor to the memory of Yitzhak Rabin, who
never hesitated to assert that Pollard's continued
imprisonment has long since crossed the line where
justice ends and vindictiveness begins."
Schindler was not available yesterday for comment.
Alon Pinkas, Barak's adviser on foreign affairs, said
in a statement that Schindler "means very well and evidently
wants only the best for Mr. Pollard." However, he
added, "that is why he should be extra careful and thoroughly
familiar with the facts and the complexities before
releasing such a blunt and uncalled for statement,
especially pertaining to elections in Israel."
Nina Gilbert adds MK Ophir Pines (Labor) said that he is considering resigning as head of the Knesset caucus for Pollard
because of Netanyahu's "cynical use of Pollard's
suffering to advance his election campaign." Pines
condemned "the scathing attack" by Netanyahu against
Barak, and said the move would harm the efforts of the
caucus to press for Pollard's release.
Dec. 4, 1998 letter
Jan. 13, 1999 letter