Esther Pollard: No money was offered to us

Janine Zacharia - The Jerusalem Post - August 31, 2001

WASHINGTON (August 31)

- Esther Pollard, wife of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, said yesterday reports that the Sharon government is planning to pay her husband $1 million in compensation for his suffering are false and undermine her campaign to free him.

"It's obviously not a true gesture," she said by phone from Canada.

She said the Israeli government had not informed her of any compensation plan and that she read about it in the newspapers. Yesterday, Ma'ariv and Yediot Aharonot reported that a special committee in the Prime Minister's Office had recently decided to award the money to Pollard, an effort spearheaded by Minister without Portfolio Dan Naveh, who has been charged with the Pollard issue.

Esther Pollard described the leak to the press as a "cheap publicity stunt" that damaged her public relations campaign on Jonathan's behalf. "We're absolutely heartbroken," she said.

She said the fact that the supposed plan was first aired in the press and not discretely "exposes the insincerity of the gesture."

She has criticized the Sharon government for not doing enough to help try win her husband's release from jail.

Pollard, a former civilian US navy analyst, has served more than 16 years of a life sentence for espionage. Successive US administrations have rejected requests for clemency. Israel acknowledged in 1998 that it employed Pollard as a spy.

Pollard's attorney in Israel, Larry Dub, telephoned Naveh yesterday enquiring about the reports, but he did not return the calls, Esther Pollard said. She declined to say if she would accept the money if the gesture proves true.

Jonathan Pollard responds: "My freedom is not for sale!"

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