US envoy's foolish words

Ambassador Jones' remarks unfounded; time has come to demand Pollard's release

Shimon Shiffer - Yediot Achronot - May 25, 2007

If Israel was a well administered country, US Ambassador Richard Jones would have been invited to the Foreign Ministry in order to explain his odd declarations that spy Jonathan Pollard would never be released from prison.

Why can't he ever be released? Even if it seems like a difficult and tortuous road, Pollard has the option of convincing the American legal system to release him earlier. He also has to hope that a day will come when an Israeli government puts the "special friendship" underlining Israeli-American ties to the test and demands his release.

A reminder: Pollard has been jailed for

more than 20 years

now because the State of Israel used him to advance its needs, and in order to defend its conduct confessed that it spied in America, turned him in, and provided evidence of his actions.

We can assume that had the Israeli side avoided panic over the Administration's threat to curb military and economic aid, Pollard would have been a free man today.

US prisons are filled with spies that gravely undermined what is referred to as their country's national security, and particularly those whose acts of espionage led to the death of American agents. Pollard is not part of that list: He provided materials that assisted Israel in defending itself against clear and present Palestinian terror dangers.

Moreover: Pollard already paid, even in comparison to other spies, the full price for his actions.

Percisely because we are talking about America's ally in the Middle East, the time has come to stop relying on the false declaration submitted to the court by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who claimed that the Israeli spy gravely undermined America's national security.

Clinton's promise

President Clinton promised Prime Minister Netanyahu to release Pollard in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. The former US president changed his mind after CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign should the president proceed with the plan. Meanwhile, almost 10 years have passed and Pollard is still imprisoned.

What kind of damage can Pollard still cause the US? None.

Ambassador Jones said that Pollard was spared execution. Those are foolish words. The last time spies were executed in the US was in the summer of 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who sold America's nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.

Yet all of this does not exempt those who dispatched him, the State of Israel, from waking up and changing its attitude to Pollard: The time has come for the government of Israel to put this tragic human question to the test, in light of what we are being told about the Bush Administration: There never was and never will be a president so friendly to Israel.

The time has come to demand Pollard's prompt release.