Peres to expedite appeal to Obama about Pollard (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN, GREER FAY CASHMAN 04/09/12)
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President Shimon Peres intends to get in touch with US President
Barack Obama on Monday to discuss the fate of Israeli agent Jonathan
Pollard, following an emotional meeting Sunday with Pollard’s wife,
Ahead of the meeting, it appeared that Peres would wait to discuss
the Pollard case with Obama until June 13, when he goes to Washington
to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom. But by the end of the
meeting, he promised to issue a formal request for Pollard´s release
by Monday, in light of his deteriorating health.
“His response was unequivocal that he would put his international
reputation on the line and use every means at his disposal,” Esther
Pollard said. “He told me he would discuss how to proceed with his
advisers because [he said] he must succeed this time.”
Accompanied by the heads of the Knesset Caucus for Pollard – MKs Uri
Ariel (National Union) and Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) – Esther read Peres
a letter to the president she had written in advance of the meeting.
“I am the wife of Jonathan Pollard,” she said, with a trembling voice.
“I am appealing to you because I do not want to be the widow of
Pollard is not allowed to receive visitors except the hospital
chaplain. The chaplain had been concerned about Pollard obtaining
kosher for Passover food but he is being fed intravenously so it is
Esther Pollard told Peres that she lives in daily terror that the
phone will ring and inform her of yet another medical crisis.
“With every medical crisis he survives, it is just a matter of time
before the next one occurs,” she said. “Jonathan is still in the
hospital, struggling to overcome the current medical crisis. The
issue right now is to stabilize his condition. It is critical that
when that occurs, he should not be sent back to prison. Sending him
back to prison is a death sentence.”
Pollard‘s long list of ailments include: diabetes, nausea, dizziness,
blackouts and ongoing issues with his gall bladder, kidneys, sinuses,
eyes and feet. He also suffers from Meniere’s disease, which causes
him to lose consciousness and fall without warning. But a source
close to Pollard said his hospitalization was not connected to any of
his past ailments.
Esther also emphasized the injustice of her husband’s life sentence,
quoting former senior American officials who have called upon Obama
to commute his sentence to the 26.5 years he has already served. She
cited former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz
and former CIA head James Woolsey.
Peres told her that he can imagine the agony that she is currently
undergoing. He said that at this stage it was important to focus on
the humanitarian aspect of the Pollard case.
Esther said no other Israeli has as much influence and respect in
Washington as Peres. She said that she had no doubt that he was “very
sympathetic and very committed to doing whatever he can as quickly as
Prior to meeting with Esther, Peres met with Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef and the two chief rabbis, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar. Peres
had ostensibly visited the rabbis to wish them well on the Passover
holiday, but in each case the conversation turned to Pollard, and in
each case the rabbis asked Peres to do his utmost to enable Pollard
to go free.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also released a statement Sunday
expressing hope that Pollard would soon be free. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/09/12)
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