Knesset votes down Pollard release plan
Sheera Claire Frenkel - The Jerusalem Post - Nov. 21, 2007
A new bill that would establish a plan to release jailed spy Jonathan Pollard was voted down in the Knesset Wednesday. [See J4JP correction #1 below].
The bill would have set up a three-pronged effort, including the appointment of a special minister to head the release effort and public relations campaign in Israel and America. The government opposed the bill in its first reading, allowing it to fall in a vote of 43 against and 32 in favor.
"Kadima and Olmert are not interested in endangering the security of Israel, but also that of Jonathan Pollard," said MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), who initiated the bill. "Olmert is unable to do what it takes and issue a strong request to return [Pollard]."
This week marked the 22nd anniversary of Pollard's conviction in the United States on charges of spying for Israel. [See J4JP correction #2 below].
In 1986, Pollard pleaded guilty, waiving his right to a trial in return for restrictions on sentencing. Israel publicly denied that Pollard was an Israeli spy until 1998, when he was granted Israeli citizenship. [See J4JP correction #3 and 4 below].
Earlier this week, MK Zevulen Orlev (NU-NRP) requested that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss investigate the Pollard case and consider intervening on Pollard's behalf. Orlev said that the State Comptroller Committee, which he heads, would vote on an official resolution asking Lindenstrauss to prepare a report on why Israel has not managed to secure Pollard's release.
MK Estherina Tartman (Israel Beiteinu) also raised the issue of Pollard's release earlier this week, arguing that instead of releasing Palestinian prisoners, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should consider focusing his efforts on Israeli citizens.
- Referring to Jonathan as a "jailed spy" instead of what he really is, an Israeli agent in captivity, or an Israeli agent in prison, is demeaning to Israel, whose agent Jonathan is. It shows a lack of national pride, as well as a lack of understanding about the case.
- November 21, 2007 is not the anniversary of Jonathan's conviction. Rather, it marks the completion of his On this date twenty-two years ago, November 21st 1985, Jonathan Pollard was thrown out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington and into the waiting arms of the FBI. He has been in prison ever since, serving a life sentence for his service to the security of the State of Israel.
- A violated plea agreement is not the same as "restrictions on sentencing" as reported above. Jonathan Pollard gave up his right to a trial as part of a plea agreement, which spared both governments (US and Israel) a long, difficult, expensive and potentially embarrassing trial. Jonathan Pollard fulfilled his end of the plea agreement, cooperating fully with the prosecution. Nevertheless, Pollard received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled - in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.
- Jonathan Pollard received official recognition as an Israeli agent in 1998, not Israeli citizenship. He sued for this recognition. He received Israeli Citizenship in 1995, and a ceremony was held in 1996. He also had to sue to force the government to give him citizenship.
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