Barghouti For Pollard Deal In The Press Again
Ezra HaLevi - Arutz Sheva News Service - April 16, 2006, 18 Nisan 5766
Army Radio reported Sunday that a plan is in the works to release
jailed arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti in return for the release of
Pollard's wife Esther, however, told Army Radio that the rumor was
nothing more than a public relations stunt to obscure the fact that
the Olmert government refused to request Pollard's release last week,
despite indications from the Bush administration that it would respond
favorably to such a request.
Barghouti, who is serving multiple life-sentences for overseeing the
terrorist murder of Israeli civilians, is a leading Fatah personality.
If the report is to be believed, Barghouti's release would be an
attempt to strengthen Yassir Arafat's waning Fatah group, which
recently lost the mantle of Palestinian Authority leadership to the
Hamas Islamic terror group.
Pollard, a former naval intelligence analyst who is serving a
life-sentence for passing classified material to US ally Israel, is
serving his 21st year in a maximum security US prison.
The radio report quoted an unnamed senior defense official as saying
the deal has a good chance of being accepted, "as Barghouti could act
to balance out Hamas."
Last time such a proposition was raised, it was rejected by Pollard
himself. "I have always been opposed to gaining my freedom in exchange
for the release of murderers and terrorists," Pollard said in 2004.
"My position has not changed. I deserve to be released because my
sentence is unjust and because the US has promised my release on more
than one occasion, including a commitment by the president of the
United States at the Wye Summit in 1998."
In Jerusalem's Old City Sunday, special prayers for Pollard, led by
former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, were held in the main square of
the Jewish Quarter. The event began at 10:30 AM and continued
throughout the day.