Prime Minister Ariel Sharon must raise the issue of the US releasing imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard with President George W. Bush this week, MK Ophir Pines-Paz (One Israel) said yesterday.
Pines said Israel should not abandon efforts for Pollard, and should make its request on humanitarian grounds.
He said he believes that a Republican president, unlike former Democratic president Bill Clinton, would have the influence over the security establishment in the US to obtain the release.
"For a person like Bush it will be easier to pardon Pollard vis-a-vis the American establishment," Pines said. He noted that when Clinton tried to pardon Pollard, he came under heavy fire. However, he said, a decision by Bush would be more respected by US public opinion.
Pines also noted that the fact previous prime ministers worked to obtain the release of the wrong people in the past does not mean that efforts should halt for Pollard, who, he said, is paying a heavy price for something he did for Israel.
Pollard, who was a civilian analyst employed by the US Navy, is serving a life sentence for passing secrets to Israel.
Pines is a former head of the Knesset caucus for Pollard.
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