PM Appeals to Barak On Pollard Issue

January 19, 1999 - IsraelWire

Once again, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has issued an appeal to Labor opposition party leader

Ehud Barak

to agree to sign a letter to be sent to US President Bill Clinton requesting a pardon for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

In the past, Barak declined to sign the letter, which was initiated by Minister of Immigration and Absorption Yuli Edelshtein.

The prime minister has not sent the letter without Barak's signature, realizing it might be looked upon by the White House as an election ploy. The prime minister's staff explained that if the opposition leader agreed to sign the letter, it would send a clear message that there is bipartisan support for clemency for Pollard, who is an Israeli citizen.

Pollard's attorney Larry Dub met with the prime minister on Monday and is continuing his efforts to obtain his clients release. Dub, an American citizen, was critical of the US government's handling of the case and pointed out that the White House and the Clinton Administration failed to contact him directly, regarding vital aspects of the case.

Dub also reiterated that his client did not have access to codes or cryptological information of any kind; and that this fact exposes American government allegations as blatant lies.

In a recent letter sent by Dub to the president's counsel, Charles Ruff, Dub protested "the disingenuous and vindictive treatment of Jonathan Pollard by the Justice Department."

Dub stated clearly that he has had no contact with the Justice Department and wonders why its representatives are falsely indicating to third parties that they have contacted him for a submission, when indeed they never have.

The Prime Minister, responding to Barak's previous refusal to sign the letter stated, "I am very disappointed by Barak's refusal to sign the request for Pollard's freedom. This is a matter of national, not political, interest; all Israelis understand that the State of Israel must bring Pollard -- who worked on Israel's behalf -- home. I had hoped for a wall-to-wall, national consensus on this matter, which would have strengthened Pollard's chances of being released."