May 12, 1999
Sources: Ha'aretz, IMRA and news agencies
According to Washington sources there is a joke in insider circles about the Persian carpet that Washington has sold a dozen times over.
Years ago, a trusting "friend" bought the carpet, paid for it, and took Washington's word for it that the rug would be delivered "shortly".
A year later Washington hauled out the same Persian carpet in a different venue, and sold it to the same schnook all over again, but this time at a higher price, and again with no delivery date.
Every year since then, the same schnook shows up in Washington and purchases the same carpet all over again. Washington laughs all the way to the bank, and looks forward to doing business with the schnook again next year.
In the Fall of 1998, Jerusalem bought Jonathan Pollard with their acquiescence to come to Wye for a summit just prior to the November 3rd mid-term congressional elections. This had the effect of reviving the lame-duck Democrat Party with a foreign policy coup, and of course of enraging the Republican Party by their exclusion from the photo-op / foreign policy feast. Washington promised Jerusalem that a delivery date for Pollard would be assigned at the summit, and took a large deposit.
During the Wye Summit Washington sold Pollard to Jerusalem once again, in return for a host of suicidal concessions including granting immunity to wanted terrorist chief / Gaza Chief of Police, Ghazi Jabali. Although Jerusalem bought Pollard again, this time they insisted on a side-letter from Washington showing the exact date and time of delivery.
Washington joyfully agreed to the side-letter because the Pollard sale closed the Wye deal in time for a gala press conference and signing ceremony in the nation's capitol!
Jerusalem never did get that side letter. As soon as Washington had payment in hand, the deal was off. Washington took great delight in reneging on delivery in front of the world press, denying the deal, and blaming the whole episode on Jerusalem. Of course, payment was not refunded...
In a recent column in Ha'aretz (May 11, 1999) journalist Akiva Eldar cites a source that describes one of the earlier purchases of this same Pollard-Persian carpet that Jerusalem made:
"..In his book about Aryeh Deri, Yoel Nir relates (page 389) that a few weeks before his assassination, Yitzhak Rabin told a group of close associates that at his last meeting with Bill Clinton in Washington, the president promised that when the negotiations on the final status agreement began and the talks with the Syrians were renewed, he would grant Jonathan Pollard a pardon, and that he himself would grant general amnesty. One of the people closest to Rabin at that time says that Clinton promised that he would do everything he could to give Pollard as a present to Rabin."
Fourteen years later, Washington still holds all the options to the Pollard-Persian carpet, even though Jerusalem has paid for him a hundred times over.
It is up to Jerusalem to set the delivery date.
And it is time for Washington to make good on its promise to deliver.
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