Sharansky Finished with Pollard

Unofficial estimates based on letter Pollard sent, objecting to way his case is being handled.

Menachem Rahat - Maariv - June 24, 2004

Minister Natan Sharansky, of Jerusalem Affairs is likely to withdraw from handling the Israeli government's efforts on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, the US citizen who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of espionage on behalf of Israel.

In an angry letter, Pollard wrote to Sharansky, "Your actions do only damage. They are of no benefit and are not being done with the intention of promoting my release". Pollard lists a series of serious complaints about the way his case has been handled. Among other things he accuses Sharansky of contacting "his adversaries" in US intelligence community", namely former US Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger, despite having agreed not to meet with him.

In addition, he claims to know that the US ambassador to Israel told senior Israel officials, "the Israeli government is supposed to submit a formal request for Pollard's release" but has not done so. Furthermore, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not raise the matter during his most recent meeting with US President George W. Bush.

Source close to Sharansky said that he was quite hurt by the letter because he has been working hard on Pollard's behalf. They added that Pollard, quite naturally, does not know about all of the efforts Sharansky has made on his behalf and it is likely that he is able to truly judge the situation from his prison cell. Despite that they expect that he will agree to Pollard's request and stand aside.

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