Netanyahu's brother-in-law: Don't forget Pollard
Hagai Ben-Artzi asks prime minister to demand Israeli agent's release on upcoming visit to House. Ben-Artzi writes that this is an opportunity to remind Obama that a real reconciliation in relations between Israel and the USA will never be accomplished as long as Pollard continues to languish in prison.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir - YNET - May 30, 2010
The prime minister's brother-in-law appealed to him ahead of a scheduled visit to the White House Sunday, and requested that he make a serious effort to secure the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, who has been imprisoned in the US .
Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama after receiving an official invitation from the White House chief of staff.
"According to all indications, this invitation is an attempt by Obama to show good will and bring about a reconciliation in the relationship between the US and Israel," Hagi Ben-Artzi wrote in a letter to Netanyahu, obtained by Ynet.
"This is an opportunity to remind Obama that a real reconciliation in relations between the two countries will never be accomplished while Pollard continues to languish in prison."
The letter, entitled 'Bibi, don't forget Pollard', adds that Pollard was first recognized by the government as "an Israeli agent who contributed much to the security of the state" during Netanyahu's first term.
"You made vigorous attempts at releasing him," Ben-Artzi wrote, recounting that former US President Bill Clinton said he would release Pollard but eventually reneged on his promise.
"You came back empty-handed then, but this is your chance to remind the US president that if he wants us to trust American promises he must honor a presidential vow personally given you," the letter says.
Ben-Artzi added that the US must prove it is Israel's ally. "Jonathan Pollard conveyed to Israel vital information for its existence and security, after the US violated its commitment towards Israel and kept important and necessary information from the state," he wrote.
"Even agents of enemy countries do not serve such long sentences in American prisons, in such harsh conditions - so much of the time Pollard has done was in solitary confinement. His health has deteriorated severely and Jonathan Pollard's life is in mortal danger."
Ben-Artzi criticized the US's conduct towards Israel, saying that because of its treatment of Pollard, the Americans are effectively treating Israel as if it were a "dangerous enemy state."
He added that Pollard's release must be carried out as a gesture between friends, and not as part of a deal for the release of terrorists. "Pollard, himself, would not want to be part of such a deal," he wrote.
See Also: Original Hebrew version of this article