PM considers formal request for Jonathan Pollard's release
Israel to submit clemency request to free spy? Esther Pollard begs PM to send Obama formal request, saying: 'Change tactics.' Netanyahu: Give me 24 hours
Roni Sofer - YNET - December 20, 2010
Twenty-five years after his arrest, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes famous spy Jonathan Pollard can be released, calling him "an envoy of Israel." After his meeting with Esther Pollard, Netanyahu said he considers sending a letter to United States President Barak Obama calling him to release Pollard.
Netanyahu told Esther Pollard and the lobby officials calling for Jonathan's release, that he would continue to work for him: "I'm asking for 24 hours to consider whether to send a public letter to Obama calling for Jonathan's release."
The prime minister said this following a statement made by Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, who said there is "good will" for pardons submitted during the 10 days leading up Christmas and the New Year.
"During my first term I worked to free Jonathan, and almost succeeded. We are very close," said Netanyahu. He added: "When I was a private citizen I visited him. During this term I raised the issue at least six times with President Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."
Pollard's wife turned to Netanyahu and once again requested he send the official request. "I'm begging you, please address the president openly, this might be my last chance to ask this of you," said Esther during her meeting with the prime minister. "Everything you have done so far hasn't led to anything, please change your tactics - make a formal request."
As she handed Netanyahu the letter Pollard had dictated to her from prison an hour before, she added: "Tell me, what do we have to lose? What harm could it do?"
Esther Pollard informed the prime minister about Jonathan's deteriorating health condition, sending him to the hospital three times last week. Esther expressed hope that this meeting would lead to the desired letter of request.
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