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Washington Sets New Price for Pollard

July 20, 1999

[New York] When pressed, following a Sunday 18/07/99 meeting with select members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Prime Minister Barak admitted that he had not raised the Pollard issue in his talks with President Clinton, contradicting earlier press statements by his Jerusalem office.

Echoing the words of White House spokesman Joe Lockhart who previously stated that he does not anticipate a decision on Pollard in the foreseeable future, Barak indicated that he does not intend to raise the Pollard issue with Clinton in the foreseeable future either.

A close advisor to the Prime Minister has confirmed to individuals close to the Pollard case that there is a tacit understanding between Messrs. Barak and Clinton that Pollard will be returned to Israel as a "consolation prize" following a full and unqualified Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights - again this contradicts Mr. Barak's current public position on yet another critical issue, namely the terms of withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

An American official involved in formulating the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Mr. Clinton's offer to swap Pollard for a total withdrawal of Israeli forces and installations from the Golan. The official further indicated that Mr. Clinton feels no obligation to honor the commitment he made to the former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to release Mr. Pollard as part of the implementation of the Wye Accords, concurrent with the freeing of Palestinian terrorists. Clinton has now set a new price for Pollard.

Participants at the Sunday meeting indicated that Prime Minister Barak dodged direct questions on whether or not he had raised the issue of Pollard's release in his talks with President Clinton. Instead, they said, he obliquely assured his audience that Pollard has been in prison long enough; that he deserves to be returned to Israel; and that his government is fully committed to securing Pollard's return.

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