'Obama is asking for gestures? Releasing Jonathan would set a great example!'
IsraelNationalNews Radio Interview with Esther Pollard
Rendered into English by Justice4JP - May be reprinted with appropriate accreditation.
J4JPnews - April 26, 2009
IsraelNationalNews Radio[INNR] interviewed Esther Pollard in Hebrew 26 April 2009 as follow-up to breaking news on YNET of an initiative to release terrorist mastermind Marwan Barghouti serving 5 life sentences plus 40 years in an Israeli prison for murdering Israelis, in return for Jonathan Pollard, who is serving an unprededented in the US for passing classified information to save Israeli lives.
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INNR: At the end of last week we received tidings in the media that close associates of Jonathan Pollard have given up on the Government of Israel and have gone directly to officials of the Palestinian Authority with a plan suggesting that they initiate a swap with the United States to exchange Marwan Barghouti for Jonathan Pollard. Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard, shalom to you!
ESTHER POLLARD: Shalom!
INNR: Esther, I understand you have taken exception to the news item that persons close to Jonathan are behind this initiative.
ESTHER POLLARD: Of course, I have. It is a completely baseless allegation. We never designed any such initiative; we did not suggest any such initiative to anyone; and we did not go to the Palestinian Authority with an initiative of any kind. That we are disgusted with the inaction of the Government of Israel is no secret, but
Jonathan's position opposing the release of murderers and terrorists is absolutely well known - not just in conjunction with his release, but in principle he opposes releasing murderers and terrorists for any reason.
INNR: So who is behind this?
ESTHER POLLARD: I have no idea.
INNR: So out of the clear blue, suddenly you and the rest of us just hear about something like this in the media?
ESTHER POLLARD: Listen, one has to understand the background. Let's start with something a little more to the point that will allow us to understand the bigger picture.
ESTHER POLLARD: Eleven years ago, the Government of Israel, under Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu went to the Wye Summit. There, Bibi secured the release of Jonathan Pollard. He secured the release of Jonathan without Jonathan's approval and without Jonathan's awareness of what the price would be. The price was the release of 750 murderers/ terrorists with blood on their hands. This was the first time that the Government of Israel agreed to a deal to free murderers and terrorists with blood on their hands. Check the facts. You will see, what I am saying is true. (See
The Wye Double-Cross Page.) This was the first time that the Government of Israel agreed to free such murderers and the government also fulfilled its promise to do so. But, what? Bibi abandoned Jonathan at Wye. He returned to Israel without him, and even though he knew that the 750 murderers were the price for Jonathan -- he even reported as much to us - nevertheless, he still kept the agreement to let them go free while Jonathan remained in prison. He also told us that the agreement to free Jonathan (in return for the release of these prisoners) was not a deal between him and Clinton, but a solemn agreement between the two countries. Israel and the United States. Eleven years have passed since then and Jonathan is still in prison. The agreement is still valid. In other words, the price for Jonathan has already been paid by Israel.
INNR: These 750 murderers.
ESTHER POLLARD: Yes!
INNR: How did they explain this release to us (the People of Israel)? They freed them as a gesture? As a gesture to whom?
ESTHER POLLARD: This was portrayed as a gesture to Arafat. And there was also a gesture to provide immunity for Ghazi Jabali. Jabali was the head of the Palestinian Police, and at the same time he was the mastermind of terror attacks against Israel. Israel was demanding his extradition at Wye, to put him on trial. But they did not extradite him in the end. Israel released the murderers, overlooked Jabali and we got nothing in return.
INNR: So in sum, we paid the price for Jonathan, and who knows if it has not cost us in blood since then
ESTHER POLLARD: It certainly has! There is no doubt that the same terrorists who were released have "rewarded" us in kind again. That is clear!
INNR: And we caved in to terror.
ESTHER POLLARD: So since the price has already been paid, and Bibi knows it, there is no reason for Israel to release more murderers and terrorists.
Additionally, in the 11 years that have passed since Bibi abandoned Jonathan at Wye, Jonathan has been afflicted and abused by the Americans, and he was left completely on his own to deal with the fallout from the mess that Bibi made at Wye. We were left to deal with all the negative effects from the mishandling at Wye, all on our own.
INNR: Which, by the way brings us to ask, you say Jonathan is being afflicted, how is his health?
ESTHER POLLARD: Terrible. Just awful. Do you know what "pikuach nefesh" means? He is in life and death danger. How he survives every minute now, is just a complete miracle. For a long time we have been reporting that he is not in good health, but now, it's even worse. His health is deteriorating rapidlyterrible. He is in terrible shape.
Moreover, all of these years we have repeatedly heard promises from Bibi that when he will be Prime Minister again, he will do and he will act and he will bring Jonathan home as soon as he takes office again. Now that he is once again Prime Minister
INNR: (interjects) and now you have renewed hope?
ESTHER POLLARD: No! Just the opposite. Completely the opposite! Bibi has completely purged the issue of Pollard from the national agenda of Israel! Have you ever once heard him mention the name Pollard since he took office? Did you see me sitting with the wives and mothers of other captives who were invited to be present at his opening speech in Knesset? Have you heard about meetings the Prime Minister is holding with Jonathan's family, the way that you hear that he is meeting with the family of another captive? ---- Anyway! More important, what needs to be said is: we are constantly hearing in the media these days that the President of the United States Barack Obama is asking for gestures from all sides. So why not set an example for us? Why not teach us how a gesture is made, by releasing Jonathan? I don't know if he is waiting for something is he waiting for a request from the Government of Israel? It is interesting to note, that Obama can easily free Jonathan and in that way, to show the whole world, this is how a gesture is made. This is how problems are solved. In doing so, he would effectively transcend past history. Jonathan's request for clemency which was submitted to Bush was not turned down by Bush. It is still in effect and it is on Obama's desk waiting for a response. All Obama has to do is sign and to transfer Jonathan and it will be clear to everyone - to the Palestinians and to the Israelis - that the US has made a gesture, now it is our turn.
INNR: Yes. Esther Pollard, if we sum up this conversation, what you are saying is: there is no basis whatsoever to the media reports that the request to the Palestinians (to initiate a swap of Barghouti for Pollard) came from Jonathan's relatives or supporters --
ESTHER POLLARD: Yes. No basis.
INNR: Not only that, but that we have already paid the price for Jonathan at Wye.
ESTHER POLLARD: Exactly!
INNR: We paid to the tune of the release of 750 terrorists, and now what remains is for Binyamin Netanyahu to perhaps feel the same obligation towards the one who he officially described as one of our own agents. He was the first, wasn't he to define Jonathan as an official Israeli agent?
ESTHER POLLARD: Yes, he was the first, but it was in return for a Bagatz! We had to drop the Bagatz that we filed in Supreme Court against the government, in return for Jonathan's definition as an official agent of the Government of Israel. (See the official document.) We have had to fight for every single centimeter of progress in Jonathan's case. And to this very day, the Government of Israel is still abandoning him! Do you know that we do not get any support from the government of Israel. Bibi defined Jonathan as an Israeli agent and we cancelled our Bagatz, believing that Jonathan's name would then be added to the list of captives held by the Ministry of Defense and his rights as an agent implemented. But it never happened! We do not receive a cent from the government! We get no support, not legal, nor moral, nor medical! Nothing at all! We live in financial distress. I live in a room in the apartment of a kindly Jerusalem widow, who heard of our distressed situation and opened her heart to us.
INNR: Yes, I know. You often speak of this in interviews you give. Does anyone official ever explain why it is that Esther Pollard, or the Pollard family is not entitled to some kind of government support or assistance?
ESTHER POLLARD: No. Just the opposite! Instead of explaining, the government simply lies. The government lies in official statements it makes, and claims that it is giving us everything. The government lies so much about this, that Jonathan was forced to turn to the Tel Aviv District Court to ask for declaratory relief. Jonathan filed a lawsuit asking the court to declare once and for all that the Government is lying; that we have never in 24 years received anything at all from the government of Israel. The case is still pending. (
Click here for English translation of lawsuit or for the original Hebrew document.)
INNR: Esther Pollard, unfortunately our time is short, but all the same we want to sum up this conversation. You are saying that you do not know who is behind the initiative for the swap, but one thing you do agree with that was published, and that is that you are disappointed in the Government of Israel.
ESTHER POLLARD: But I still expect Bibi to fulfill his responsibility and to live up to his promises, his personal promises to us, that he will bring Jonathan home as soon as he takes office again.
INNR: And we too expect, along with you! Thank you for being with us.