YNET [English]: Esther Pollard: Bush is willing; Olmert is Ducking

November 13, 2006 - YNET - Sharon Roffe-Ofir

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Several hours before Olmert meets with Bush in Washington convicted spy's wife says: 'We know that Bush is willing to pardon Pollard', slams Olmert for 'ignoring' his plight

With the meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US President George Bush just hours away, convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's wife Esther pleads with Bush to pardon her husband. Speaking with Ynet on Sunday evening she slams Olmert for ignoring her husband's case.

"Not only does he do nothing about it, he purposely ignores that issue called Pollard, and every time (I) try to schedule a meeting with him he refuses to take it," says Mrs. Pollard. "We know that President Bush is willing to pardon Pollard and I want to support him in doing the right thing."

Esther Pollard, who has repeatedly voiced her disappointment in the handling of her husband's case by the state, asks to communicate her message to the PM: "It's a shame that Israel abandons her sons. I say to Olmert - before you think about pardoning Barghouti, take care of your own citizens first and bring up Jonathan Pollard's pardon. Bush is genuinely willing (to pardon him), he's just waiting for your request."

Responding to the recent publication of video footage showing her husband putting classified material into suitcases, broadcast in Israel by channel 10, she says: "Obviously it was shown at a time when Olmert is in the US, playing into his (Olmert's) interests, absolving him of responsibility. It presents the situation as though it isn't that Israel doesn't want to release him, it's just that he can't be released because of the Americans' evidence."

Pollard's wife says she was not surprised by the footage of her husband. "Jonathan saw the movies and told me they were being aired, he told me that in the offices where he worked there had always been a security camera. He knew he was being filmed; it's a completely routine film because that was Jonathan's job. He would transfer documents every day and other employees were also filmed doing this. So the footage shows nothing, it's an attempt to present a falsified reality."

So why are the films being revealed now?

"What the intelligence community is doing corroborates our claims. Bush is genuiunely willing to release Jonathan and every time the intelligence community identifies that willingness it seeks to create chaos. They did it during the Wye Plantation accords and in 1992 when Clinton considered pardoning him. This time Bush is willing and they hope that the media din will tie his hands."

Jonathan has been imprisoned for 21 years and it seems as though the issue is still fresh for them.

"Absolutely. Jonathan is a tool to be waved each time they want to question Israel's loyalty to America, and the loyalty of Jews. It's important for the Israeli public to know that even if the president supports Israel that doesn't reflect the position of the state department and the intelligence community. Their attitude towards us is completely different and they use this tool called Jonathan to drive a wedge in the relationship."

And now (that the images have been aired), what can Bush do?

The President of the United States has the constitutional authority to pardon prisoners. In this respect he has unlimited power and he can decide to pardon him. In the past the intelligence community objected to the release of 14 Porto Rican terrorists and Clinton just said 'Sorry, but I'm the boss' and pardoned them. If Bush wants to, he certainly can. If you ask me he's only waiting for an official request from Israel and I ask to remind Olmert that he has a prisoner in an American jail for 21 years, don't come back to Israel without a decision about his release."

  • See Also: YNET [Hebrew]: Esther Pollard: Bush is willing; Olmert is Ducking