Barak's Response To Hatzofeh

Hatzofeh - October 22, 1999

In Israel it is customary, when writing an article that presents a particular point of view, to give any opposing views the right of response. Therefore, Hatzofeh handed over a list of questions to the Prime Minister's office to allow him to respond.

Barak's response is an accurate reflection of everything that is wrong with his attitude towards Jonathan Pollard, and his handling of the case.

These Are The Questions Hatzofeh Submitted to the Prime Minister:

  1. Is it true that the Prime Minister has avoided all contact with Jonathan Pollard since he was elected?

  2. How accurate are the statements of Pollard's representatives (including his wife and his attorney) that Ehud Barak has refused to meet with them for years - even long before he was elected to Prime Minister - whereas every previous Prime Minister has been willing to meet with them and to maintain contact with Pollard.

  3. Is it true that the Prime Minister has ignored 15 separate requests for contact and information from Pollard?

  4. How does the Prime Minister respond to Pollard's statement that since the issue of his release was elevated to the highest levels at Wye, there is no further need for "quiet diplomacy", but rather direct negotiation between the President and the Prime Minister is now the only way to resolve the case?

  5. Pollard's attorney has a letter of resignation written two years ago by Mr. Moshe Kochanovsky, the man you have just appointed to be in charge of contacts with Washington in order to secure Pollard's release. Kochanovsky resigned from the same job two years ago because he did not have the authority or the standing in Washington to deal with Pollard's release. Has there been any change in his situation since he last resigned?
Prime Minister Barak's office relayed the following as his response to all of the above questions:

"Whereas there is a case that Pollard has before the courts which is still pending and which deals with the issues these questions refer to, we are unwilling to answer any questions that are "sub judicia" (still in legal process.)"

Hatzofeh concludes:

The above response does not deal with the fact that Ehud Barak is still the first Prime Minister who has refused to meet with Pollard or his representatives. It also does not deal at all with the issue that negotiating Pollard's release is the Prime Minister's direct responsibility, leader to leader, and no longer a matter of "quiet diplomacy - which has never achieved any results.

There is also no acknowledgment here of the fact that it is precisely because the State was not assisting Pollard in any way or on any level (not even with his legal fees) that Pollard turned to the Supreme Court to begin with.

About all that the Government of Israel is currently offering Jonathan Pollard are things like stamps, chocolate bars and shampoo - all the things he can get for himself - in prison...

See also: Pollard Versus Barak