Kol Yisrael Radio Interview with Esther Pollard
(Jonathan Pollard's Comments Follow)
Interviewer: Chaim Zissovitch
[Jerusalem] July 20, 1999 12:40 am EST
[Translated from Hebrew]
Chaim: A warm welcome to Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard!
Esther: Shalom Chaim!
Chaim: Esther, I understand we are speaking with you in Canada
Esther: Yes, that's right.
Chaim: First of all we heard this morning that Jonathan Pollard has been in the hospital, that he
is suffering with severe headaches, etc. ... How is he doing?
Esther: He is very ill. He is tired. He is worn out. And he is disappointed.
Esther: Very disappointed. Look, Chaim, here he is, an Israeli agent - an Israeli agent who had
to take the government to court- not once, but several times. First to get his citizenship, and then
afterwards to compel the government to recognize him as an Israeli agent. And after all the years,
after all the years he sat in prison - 14 years in prison for his service on behalf of Israel - after all
this, a new Israeli Prime Minister comes to the United States and declares that "Jonathan Pollard
is an internal American problem." Not that he is an Israeli agent! Not that he must go free! But
that Pollard is an internal American problem and that he is not willing to intervene.
Chaim: At least at the Israeli press conference, among the things that he said to the Israeli
journalists that were with him is that he will take care of, that he is taking care of the Pollard
issue - but not publicly, not in front of everyone ...
Esther: He is very smart. He never said when he would raise the issue.
Chaim: Do you know if he raised the matter with Clinton?
Esther: We know with certainty that he did not bring it up. And how do we know with
certainty? He admitted that he did not bring it up! At a meeting with the American Jewish leaders,
they asked him, "Did you or did you not bring up the issue (of Pollard's release) with Clinton. He
avoided answering the question and said other nice things, but he did not answer the question.
Afterwards, after the meeting, certain people - reliable witnesses- pressured him and he admitted
that he had not discussed the matter with Clinton - and not only that- but that he had no intention
of bringing it up with Clinton in the near future.
Chaim: Let me ask you one more quick question. The previous government of Binyamin
Netanyahu changed the approach and there were high profile meetings in the prison, and there
was an open public campaign, and it didn't help. Why not give the new approach of Prime
Minister Barak a chance? Work quietly. Behind the scenes. Don't make waves.
Esther: Before the previous government took the ball and ran with it, there were 10 years of
"quiet diplomacy, and "quiet diplomacy" for us is... - Look, we are not demanding big headlines
in major newspapers, but what we are asking for is that words and actions match. And that is not
what is happening now. The actions of the Prime Minister contradict the words of his office. His office claims that he is raising the issue ( of Jonathan's release) with President Clinton, while here, privately, he admits that he did not bring the matter up, he is not bringing the matter up, and
he has no intention of bringing the matter up. What is going on here?
Chaim: We have to end here. Esther, I thank you very much. Shalom. Shalom.
Jonathan Pollard's Comments
"We have no problem with quiet diplomacy, provided that it really occurs - and in this instance, our most credible sources indicate that it simply is not.
The point is, if they (the Barak govt.) had contacted us beforehand, laid out their policy, solicited our opinion and appointed somebody both in Israel and in America to maintain contact with us, that would have been the first step to gaining our trust and securing our cooperation.
The second step is, if Prime Minister Barak actually went ahead and did what he had to do - quietly, behind the scenes - and we were given confirmation of that fact, we would have neither the interest nor the inclination to draw any public attention. At this point, the only confirmation we are getting is from our own well-placed sources in Washington and Jerusalem who assure us that nothing is going on.
Number three, if Prime Minister Barak were indeed to act behind the scenes, in an effective and credible manner. If he were to quietly make a principled, credible demand for my release - consistent with the demands made by his predecessors, which resulted in the President's commitment both to P.M. Rabin and to P.M. Netanyahu to release me. And if - again behind the scenes - Prime Minister Barak would quietly condition Israel's fulfillment of specific agreements on my release to ensure that the President keep his word this time, then we would be as quiet as mice.
But unfortunately all indications are that the Prime Minister is simply going through the motions as if he were engaged in quiet diplomacy to seek my release, while behind the scenes there is no honest initiative.
We have never wanted to be public about anything. The whole matter is a question of trust. In spite of all the talk of quiet diplomacy, over the last 14 years precious little of it has actually occurred. If it had, I would have been home long ago."
*Note: Jonathan Pollard's comments were relayed to his attorney, Larry Dub.
See Also: Washington Sets New Price for Pollard