Haaretz: Sharon focused on "more pressing matters" than Pollard

Gideon Alon - Haaretz - August 1, 2003

Sharon Did Not Give Bush Petition Calling for Pollard's Release

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not present U.S.President George W. Bush with a petition signed by 112 Knesset members, calling for the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard when the two leaders met in Washington this week.

Chair of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee MK Michael Eitan (Likud), who initiated the petition signed by all MKs apart from the members of the Arab factions, told Haaretz that shortly after Sharon left for the U.S. on Sunday, people in the Prime Minister's Office informed him that he had not taken the petition with him.

It is believed that Sharon wished to focus on more pressing matters during his meeting with Bush, and Eitan instead presented the petition to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Wednesday. In his speech to the parliament on Wednesday, DeLay however expressed his strong opposition to releasing Pollard saying that Pollard is "a spy and should remain in jail."

A bill sponsored by MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) which would make Pollard's release a prerequisite to any deal between Israel and the PA was presented to the Knesset Thursday.

J4JP Note

Erdan's bill, while well-intentioned, is useless. The Prime Minister of Israel, under American pressure, continues to make enormous concessions to the PA in the absence of any signed deal. Even when a signed deal does occur, such as the Wye Accords, Israel simply ignores the U.S. failure to live up to its commitment to free Jonathan Pollard.

Israel fulfilled her end of the deal but to this day has never asked the U.S. to fulfill its promise to free Jonathan - a promise that has repeatedly been defined by senior Israeli officials including former Prime Minister Netanyahu, Minister Natan Sharansky and Minister Dani Naveh as a commitment "not between two leaders, but between two nations." See the The Wye Double-Cross Page for details.