'Pollard's release not on PM's agenda'
Greer Fay Cashman - The Jerusalem Post - November 12, 2006
Esther Pollard, the wife of Jonathan Pollard, the American-born Israeli agent who has been incarcerated for 21 years for passing classified information to Israel does not believe that her husband's release is on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's agenda in his current visit to the US.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Pollard said that there were good indications that the White House would be favorably disposed towards her husband's release if there was a serious request from Israel, but she knows for a fact that Olmert will not bring up the matter.
Now is a very good time for "all kinds of political reasons" for US President George W. Bush to accede to such a request, she said, especially since America is asking for the release of Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti who is serving five life sentences plus forty years.
Prior to his landing in Washington, Olmert told reporters on the plane that releasing Barghouti was not on the agenda.
Reiterating that this is a most opportune chance for Olmert to ask that Jonathan Pollard be released from prison, Pollard said "What better time is there when the Americans are coming to us with dirty hands and making such an outrageous request? Jonathan didn't kill anyone. His sentence is disproportionate."
Olmert's half-hearted denials about Barghouti's release being on the agenda are not being taken seriously by either Jerusalem or Washington. They are intended for public consumption in Israel only. In an interview with the Washington Post prior to his departure for Washington, Olmert not only did not deny his intention to free Barghouti at the request of the Americans, but also added that he is ready to free "many, many" more palestinian prisoners to achieve raprochement with the Palestinians. As Esther Pollard pointed out on IDF Radio (Galei Tzhalal) today, " It is stunning that Prime Minister Olmert shows no compunction about freeing Barghouti, a murderer who is serving 5 life sentences at the request of the Americans, without giving any thought to seeking the release of Jonathan Pollard, Israel's own agent who is being held by the Americans for the last 21 years! It is simply staggering!