Netanyahu Refuses to Bring Knesset Appeal for Pollard to U.S.

Chana Ya'ar - Arutz7 - Cheshvan 30, 5771, November 7, 2010


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has refused to take a letter to Washington drafted by Knesset members asking for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard. The Prime Minister's Office told IDF Army Radio that the Prime Minister has raised the matter many times before" at the White House, and does not need the letter.

"The Prime Minister has brought up Pollard's case several times in discussions with the U.S. government, so he does not need to do so through a letter," said the PMO in a statement. "The proper procedure for transferring letters is to send them in an official manner to the U.S. Embassy in Israel."

The Letter
The letter, addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama, was signed by 109 of Israel's 120 Knesset members, including Interior Minister Eli Yishai. Obama will be in Asia while Netanyahu is in the United States.

"We feel a deep obligation to note that many citizens of Israel feel an obvious discrimination between Pollard and the punishment of others accused of spying in the U.S.," the letter pointed out. "This feeling clouds the important and stable U.S.-Israel friendship and the Israeli public wish with all their hearts to remove it."

The letter, which noted that Pollard has already spent 25 years in jail and is now in an unstable medical condition, also included a reference to a recent comment by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden regarding the issue of Pollard's life sentence.

"As you know, the State of Israel has accepted full responsibility for the actions of Pollard and apologized for them. Even senior members of your government, vice president Mr. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and your assistant Mr. Dennis Ross have previously expressed their agreement to the claim Pollard should be freed after serving more than enough time in prison for the offense he was convicted of," the letter said in part.

Netanyahu will meet with Biden on Sunday when the two men are scheduled to speak in New Orleans at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly.

The letter was prepared following a statement by Lawrence Korb, former assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration, who said that Pollard was unjustly sentenced to life in prison. Korb said Pollard should be granted clemency by Obama.

"As you may know, besides the explicit call for Pollard's release, he revealed that Pollard's harsh sentence and unprecedented life verdict was due to false accusations and false information that is clearly now not true," the letter added.

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