PM's Office: No Denial on Granting POW Status to Terrorists
Source: Maariv NRG - October 19, 2005
Justice4JP Prefacing Note:
Shortly after the publication of the Maariv NRG article below, on Esther Pollard's "Open Letter to the Family of Ron Arad," the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon felt compelled to issue a response. The response did NOT deny that the Prime Minister is planning to grant Prisoner of War status (POW) to Palestinian terrorists who have murdered Jews.
Justice4JP is troubled by the relative silence in the Israeli media over this shocking development.
POW status, as defined by the Geneva Convention, was never intended to protect terrorists who have murdered civilians in outright acts of terrorism.
The Palestinian prisoners who stand to receive POW status from PM Sharon are NOT soldiers captured in the course of a declared war. These are terrorists who have master-minded and/or carried out suicide bombings, bus-bombings, drive-by-shootings, as well as rocket and missile attacks on civilian targets. Again, they are not soldiers, they are terrorists. But once they are granted POW status, Israel will be OBLIGED to release them, as if they were genuine prisoners of war.
In responding to Pollard's "Open Letter to the Arad Family," the Prime Minster's office ducked the issue entirely. Instead it misdirected attention by issuing denials over who met with whom and when, --- which have absolutely no relevance whatsoever to issue of Israel granting POW status to terrorists !
The Maariv NRG article and PM's response follows below. [Translation by J4JP]:
Esther Pollard to Arad Family: We Must Not Remain Silent
Maariv NRG - October 19, 2005
In a letter of support, first published by NRG, the wife of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy, writes to the family of the captive Israeli airman: "Sharon chose to free a drug - dealer at the expense of Ron. [His promises of a second wave of releases] are a pack of lies."
A FATEFUL UNITY
As Ron Arad marks his 19th anniversary in captivity, the wife of the Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned in the USA, sent a letter to the family of the Israeli airman. "We must not remain silent!" wrote Pollard. "It is time for the Nation to speak with one voice and insist that the Government of Israel stop its policy of abandonment and betrayal, and that it do whatever is necessary, what ever it takes, to bring its sons, Ron and Jonathan, home!"
A month from now, Pollard enters his 21st year of a life sentence in an American prison. His wife, Esther, saw this as the right time to point out the commonality of the plight of both families. "Please allow us to express our support and to let you know that we empathize with your frustration and anger at the lack of genuine concern for Ron demonstrated by the Government of Israel," she wrote.
"Our loved ones, Ron and Jonathan, were both taken into captivity in the course of their service to the State of Israel: Ron as an IDF pilot; and Jonathan as an agent under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense. They undertook their missions willingly, with the belief that the State would stand by them in their time of need. Unfortunately, the last two decades have shown us all how completely mistaken and divorced from reality this most basic of assumptions was."
A large part of her letter was given to criticizing the current government of Israel, headed by Ariel Sharon. In her letter Pollard accuses Sharon of being as being concerned with taking care of terrorists, murderers, and drug-dealers, while abandoning Ron and Jonathan.
"In January 2004, Israel bought the release of an Israeli drug-dealer, Elchanan Tannenbaum, from Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, at the expense of your beloved Ron," she wrote to the Arad Family. " In return for Tannebaum's release, Israel freed two prominent terrorist chieftains, Obeid and Durani, which the State claimed it was holding as bargaining chips for the release of Ron Arad.
"PM Sharon so desperately wanted (his family friend) Tannenbaum freed that he invoked the "mitzvah of pidyan shvuyim" for this scoundrel --- something he has never done for Ron, an IDF pilot, or for Jonathan, an Israeli agent. Sharon also freed hundreds of Palestinian terrorists in the deal which brought Tannenbaum and the dead bodies of 3 soldiers home. Sharon claimed at the time that there would be a "second round of releases" in which to secure Ron's release; and he insisted that it was okay to give up Obeid and Durani because Israel has "other bargaining chips". Time has shown us what pack of lies that was."
"USE AND DISPOSE OF"
Pollard expresses outrage over the fact that shortly, owing to American pressure. Israel plans to release Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands. "How can it be that no one, not even a single Israeli government minister, has stood up and shouted: 'It is unconscionable that Israel agree to the US demand to free murderers who have served only 12 years in prison, without first insisting that the US free our agent, Jonathan Pollard, who defended Israel and never murdered anyone ?!!'"
At the end of her letter, Pollard speaks of values that the Government of Israel has lost: "There was a time, many years ago, when the basic values of the State of Israel were founded upon the notion of social responsibility. We were known as "A nation which refuses to remain silent and which does not abandon her own." The People of Israel retain these values; to our sorrow, the government does not. Instead, driven by political self-interest, graft and corruption, Israeli government policy towards those who serve the State has become one of expendability: "Use and dispose of.""
Esther Pollard points out that she and her husband pray for Ron Arad and his family every day: "Jonathan asked me to tell you that Ron and you are in our hearts and our prayers today and every day. We both deeply empathize with your plight and pray for Ron's speedy return home. With love from us both"
"A STAIN UPON ISRAEL'S HONOR AND A MARK OF INGRATITUDE"
A response was relayed from the Prime Minister's office that the words of Esther Pollard do not warrant any response at all. As well, they said that the Prime Minster is doing and will continue to make every effort to free Jonathan from prison. "Even at his meeting at the UN, Sharon brought the subject up with Bush", his office said. [J4JP: See WORLDNETDAILY: Pollard's Wife: Sharon Faked Release Talk]
Moreover, Sharon's people denied that Dov Weissglass met with PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs Abu Zaida, and pointed out that it was not even raised in Weissglass' meeting with Saeb Erekat.
As opposed to the Prime Minister's office the NGO "Amtah for Ron Arad" identifies with what Esther Pollard wrote. "Even if we were to not adopt every word in the letter, it still expresses by definition this strange and cruel situation," said the head of the Amutah, Yossi Harari. "The abandonment of Pollard, for nearly 20 years, is a stain [upon Israel's honor] and [a mark of] ingratitude.
Harari expressed anger that Israel still has not brought Ron Arad home. "Up until the [Tannenbaum] deal with the prisoners, the belief of the Amutah regarding the government's failure to bring Ron Arad home, had been that it was due to either folly or negligence," said Harari. "[But] the release of Obeid and Durani, without the return of Ron, proves that the claim of abandonment is well founded."
In response to Pollard's letter, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) criticized the Prime Minister's handling of the issue. "He was right, the one who said that 'He who is kind to the cruel, will end up being cruel to the kind,'" said MK Ariel. "Sharon again and again releases the murderers of women and childen to freedom, at the request of the United States, and doesn't even think of demanding the release of Pollard who has already served 20 years for an offense whose median sentence is usually 2 to 4 years."