Netanyahu Wants 24 Hours to Decide on Public Pollard Plea
Gil Ronen - Arutz7 - December 20, 2010
(Israelnationalnews.com) - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Monday with Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard, and representatives of the lobby for his release, and told them he would continue to act for Pollard's freedom.
The group asked Netanyahu to make a public appeal to U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon and release Pollard, and delivered a letter from the famous prisoner containing a similar request. The prime minister asked for 24 hours to consider the idea. If he comes to the conclusion that a public plea would help free Pollard, he promised, he will make it.
Netanyahu canceled his participation in a conference that was held by the Pollard lobby, opting for a post-conference meeting with the top activists instead. The group included - besides Esther Pollard - former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) and retired Judge Tzvi Tal.
"I took action, in the time of my first term as prime minister, for his release and we indeed were close to this," Netanyahu said, "but unfortunately it did not materialize. As a private citizen, I visited him. Pollard was sent [on his mission] by Israel. I am acting and will continue to work for his release in my present term of office as well."
"I brought this subject up six times over the past few months with the president and the secretary of state and I promise to make an effort for his release in the future as well," he added.
Jonathan Pollard was arrested in the US 25 years ago and convicted of spying for Israel. He has been held in extremely harsh and humiliating conditions in various US jails since then. The length of his imprisonment and its conditions are much harsher than those in similar cases of spying for a friendly country.
In her address at the conference, Esther Pollard said that the next ten days are the time at which US presidents traditionally sign pardons. She said that time was running out for her husband, whose health is failing.
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