Update: US refusal to release Pollard continues stalemate on talks
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA - June 30, 2013
[See J4JP Disclaimer following text of article]
According to numerous reports, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has offered to release the pre-Oslo prisoners in stages over the course of the negotiations with the Palestinians rather than in one huge photo-op event marking the renewal of the talks.
Setting aside for the moment either the wisdom or justice in releasing these terrorist murderers, from a practical standpoint, it is far from clear that it serves the interests of Mahmoud Abbas to be a party to the series of releases offered by PM Netanyahu.
The families of the pre-Oslo terrorists still behind bars would be vocal in their displeasure and disappointment under such an arrangement and while the families of those released in the first rounds would no doubt be pleased to see their sons and fathers home, they would keep their celebrations as low key as possible in solidarity with the terrorists not yet released.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry left without a deal.
It didn't have to be this way.
If President Obama offered to free Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the immediate release of the 107 terrorists PM Netanyahu would have had no choice but accept the deal.
Again: not a deal to spread the release of the terrorists over months but instead a huge celebration in the PA as all 107 step off buses in Ramallah in a victory celebration lead by Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO second only in its pure joy to the recent celebration when Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf won the Arab Idol competition.
Yes, Jonathan Pollard himself objects to being part of such schemes, but he has no say in the matter. He is no more than a pawn in this story - just as he was a pawn at Wye and elsewhere.
Don't get me wrong - justice demands that Pollard be immediately released without any strings attached.
But I am not talking about justice.
I am talking about a very clear and simple action that the Obama administration could do at this very moment that would have guaranteed to break the stalemate.
What does the departure of Kerry apparently without this deal tell us about the true American commitment to the "peace process"?
We Israelis have been subject to their endless preaching about how we have to make sacrifices.
But if it is more important to President Obama to unjustly keep Jonathan Pollard behind bars than to facilitate a return of the Palestinians to the table then this speaks volumes regarding the lack of an American commitment to advancing the "peace process".
To be clear: the release of Pollard does not require a long procedure involving numerous authorities. It requires a pen, a piece of paper and a president willing to sign.
Dr. Aaron Lerner is Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
J4JP Disclaimer: The above article addresses the issue of American double standards and hypocrisy, as the US presses Israel to release murderers and terrorists but will not release one single prisoner to Israel as a matter of simple justice, even after nearly 3 decades in American prisons..We think it is important for this double standard to be known. However, distribution of this article should not be construed as an endorsement of the quid pro quo which it proposes in order to illustrate American hypocrisy. Jonathan Pollard's unequivocal opposition to being traded for murderers and terrorists is a long-standing matter of public record.
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