JERUSALEM - Jonathan Pollard's lawyer and wife lashed out at former US president Bill Clinton yesterday for failing to grant clemency to Pollard on his last day in office, as he did for 140 others.
"Of course not, there was no reason for him to do it," said lawyer Larry Dub. "He got everything he wanted from the Israelis, and never had to turn over the Pollard card."
Pollard's wife, Esther, said the whole notion "of a lame duck president is that in his last days in office he can do pretty much what he pleases with pardons, without any consideration of getting a reward or any fear of reprisals.
"Clinton has lied about Jonathan and exploited him for the last eight years, selling over and over again to the Israeli people that, 'If you are good little boys and girls, and you go down from the Golan, and you give up Hebron, and you do everything I want you to do, go off Har Habayit [the Temple Mount], whatever, then maybe you'll get a pardon,' " she said yesterday from Butner, North Carolina, where she was visiting her husband. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for passing classified material to Israel.
"Various Israeli governments have been quite happy to use that spin, knowing full well that there was little expectation of him delivering, because he's done this so many times," she said. "Our hope was never in Clinton."
Dub said that he does have some hope in the incoming administration of President George W. Bush, because he trusts that if Bush says he will release Pollard, Bush will live up to his word.
Dub said he also intends to push the matter forward with the Israeli government. Prime Minister Ehud Barak, he said, "is going to swear up and down that he's always mentioned Pollard. But the trouble is, then you go to Washington with a list of 20 things, and Pollard is No. 20, that makes the impression to the Americans that yeah, you got to ask for him because people at home are banging on your doors, but you don't really care about him. We want to put Pollard at the top of the list."
Barak brought up Pollard at yesterday's cabinet meeting, saying that in almost every meeting he had with Clinton he brought up the Pollard affair, and even wrote a letter to Clinton recently bringing up the subject again.
Dub said he is hopeful for a more sympathetic ear should Ariel Sharon become prime minister.
"I don't know if we have a good chance, but we have a better chance," he said, adding that Sharon was the only one in the cabinet who objected to returning criminal evidence in the Pollard case to the Americans.
"When Peres said, 'Let's give them the documents' Sharon said, 'You give them the documents, and you are guaranteeing that this guy gets a life sentence.' "
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