Esther Pollard: Jonathan 'conscious, aware' after surgery
Jailed agent's wife says she is relieved he passed operation "but this is just a temporary fix"; Congressman asks to speak to House about Pollard.
Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - August 3, 2011
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard underwent successful surgery and was both conscious and aware, his wife Esther reported Wednesday.
Pollard temporarily left his Butner, North Carolina prison Tuesday morning to undergo a "very urgent" surgical procedure after suffering from pain caused by problems with his kidneys, gall bladder, and high blood pressure.
"He is in a lot of pain as a result of the operation but the pain is expected to subside as he heals," Esther said. "I am hopeful that I will be able to speak with Jonathan in the coming hours. Since the news of his operation broke yesterday, we have been overwhelmed with an outpouring of support and concern from the Israeli people and from the Israeli media for which we are deeply grateful."
Esther Pollard reiterated her calls for her husband's release, saying "While I am deeply relieved that Jonathan came through the operation and is now recovering, this is not a solution, just a temporary fix. He needs to come home now where he can receive the care and treatment he desperately needs."
She stressed that "after 26 years in prison without proper nutrition or medical care, he is in a very weak and compromised state physically, and time is running out."
US Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass) spoke Monday to the US Congress about Pollard's case. He called on US President Barack Obama to answer the many calls for Pollard's immediate release.
In what was apparently the first speech ever about Pollard on the floor of the House, Frank said that Pollard has payed a price much higher than anyone else that spied on a friend of the United States and more than many who spied for its enemies.
New US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, whose Facebook page has been inundated with queries about Pollard, avoided a question about the many requests to commute the Israeli agent that Obama has received from dozens of current and former senior American and Israeli officials.
"That's an issue for the American legal system, and I have nothing further to add on the matter," Shapiro told Army Radio.
The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home called Shapiro's answer "a slap in the face."
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) wrote to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday, saying that "The authorities in the United States are hiding information on Pollard's condition. There's an urgent need for intervention at the highest levels of the Israeli government."
Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On, a recipient of former US president Jimmy Carter's Carter-Menil Human Rights Prize, added that "after so many years, Pollard should be released for humanitarian reasons."
Michal Toiba and Michael Omer-Man contributed to this report.
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