An Overview of the Pollard Petition to Supreme Court

Pollard Sues Barak for Protection and Release of Documents

Yated Ne'eman - September 9, 1999

In a lawsuit brought before the Israeli Supreme Court (filed Sept. 7, 1999), lawyers for Jonathan Pollard accuse Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the State of Israel of withholding documents that could aid in securing Pollard's release from a federal prison in North Carolina. The documents referred to in the lawsuit are in Pollard's file at the Israeli Defense Ministry. Pollard obtained them while spying for Israel, using his access to American secrets as a civilian intelligence analyst for the United States Navy.

Pollard contends that the documents show the United States to be an unreliable ally to Israeli and Syria to be an untrustworthy negotiating partner. Pollard was caught and convicted of spying for Israel in 1985 and has served 14 years of a life sentence in federal prisons.

Pollard's attorney also petitioned the Supreme Court to compel Barak to fulfill the commitments made by his predecessor, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to obtain Pollard's release and to see to all his medical and financial needs.

Pollard's attorney claims that his Defense Ministry file contains a detailed list of all the documents he supplied to Israel while working as a spy. Pollard contends that the documents will prove that accusations by the U.S. security establishment that he passed on to Israel information harmful to U.S. national security are false.

Pollard's attorneys, Larry Dubb and Baruch Ben Yosef, say that the Israeli Defense Ministry and intelligence agencies refuse to release the documents because they reveal that the U.S. knowingly concealed information from Israel concerning Syrian violations of the 1974 disengagement agreement through 1984. According to Pollard, the same documents show that the U.S. withheld information on Syrian war plans against Israeli positions on the Golan, plans that specifically detailed planned chemical attacks on Israeli civilian and military targets.

Pollard also claims that, when they are released, the Defense Ministry documents will reveal for first time the names of Israelis who are trying to undermine efforts to obtain his release.

Two years ago, following a previous lawsuit filed by Pollard's attorneys in the Supreme Court, then-prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu officially acknowledged that Pollard was an Israeli agent. Pollard claims, however, that since taking office, Prime Minister Ehud Barak has completely violated all of Israel's legal and moral obligations to Pollard, cut off all contact with Pollard, and refused to meet with Pollard's wife or attorneys. Pollard also accuses Barak of ignoring the government's financial obigations to him, including the payment of his legal fees the securing of adequate medical attention.

Pollard condemns Barak for referring to his case as "an internal American problem, best left for American internal deliberation," during the prime minister's visit this summer to the U.S. Pollard claims that Barak has ignored his officially recognized status as an Israeli government agent and his right to protection by Israel according to the rules of government procedure in security matters.

Critics of Barak's attitude note that as recently as 1997 Israel went to great lengths, including the release of the founder of Hamas from an Israeli jail, to secure the release of two of its agents after a botched assassination attempt on a Hamas official in Amman, Jordan. They argue that Pollard, as an acknowledged Israeli agent, deserves an equally earnest effort on the part of the Israeli government to secure his freedom. They also point out that Pollard's harsh sentence may well be due to the fact that he was wrongly accused of responsibility for serious American security breaches that were really the caused by a highly-placed Soviet mole in the CIA, Aldrich Ames, who was in a position to shift the blame for his own misdeeds to Pollard after Pollard was arrested.

See also: The Facts Of The Pollard Case