Ayalon: Pollard still in jail due to FBI error (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 04/12/12)
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Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard remains in an American jail in part
because of a mistaken theory in the US Justice Department and FBI
that he had an accomplice whom Israel has refused to name, Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.
Ayalon, who was the first Israeli ambassador to the US who visited
Pollard, speculated that the same mistake persuaded former CIA
director George Tenet to block a deal for Pollard’s freedom that
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had reached with then-US president
Bill Clinton when the Wye River Accords were signed in 1998.
“The FBI wanted to keep Pollard as a hostage until Israel gave them
his partner,” Ayalon said. “There of course was no partner, and the
charge is totally outrageous, yet it is difficult to shake. This
unrealistic and stupid suspicion could be one explanation as to why
he is still in jail after so many years when others who did much more
damage spying for real enemies have gotten out.”
Ayalon called it a mystery why Pollard is still in prison. He said
the Pollard case “strikes a chord of irrationality” with top American
He recalled that after visiting Pollard in 2005, he asked US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice what needed to be done to bring
about his release. She replied “Don´t even go there.”
Lamenting “yet another missed opportunity,” Ayalon said during
Passover would have been an ideal time for US President Barack Obama
to commute Pollard’s life sentence to the 26.5 years he has already
served. He vowed to continue talking to American officials in an
effort to persuade them of Pollard’s just cause.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin expressed optimism Wednesday that
President Shimon Peres would succeed in bringing Pollard home ahead
of the June 13 ceremony in which Peres will receive the Presidential
Medal of Freedom from Obama. Rivlin blamed Pollard’s continued
incarceration on “American Jews who abandoned him and who think
Pollard is lucky that he did not receive the death penalty.”
Pollard’s wife Esther received a visit on Tuesday from Labor Party
Knesset candidate Noam Schalit, whose son Gilad was held captive in
the Gaza Strip.
Schalit said he came to strengthen Esther Pollard and offer her
advice and support.
Gilad Schalit and his parents have signed a petition calling on Peres
to do everything possible to bring about Pollard’s release before he
receives the medal. Almost 40,000 people have signed the petition.
“Who knows more than Gilad about what Jonathan Pollard is going
through?” Noam Schalit said. “Gilad is sure that Pollard paid a heavy
price and served more than enough time. We waited just five years for
Esther Pollard told Noam Schalit that she had a similar task of
constantly reminding people that her husband is alive and that
everything possible is needed to bring him home. She said that she
and her husband had prayed for Gilad Schalit’s freedom every day.
Jonathan Pollard has been hospitalized for various ailments since
before the Passover holiday began on Friday. Esther Pollard said his
condition had improved Wednesday but he still had a long way to
go. “There is no cause for rejoicing yet,” she said. (© 1995-2011,
The Jerusalem Post 04/12/12)
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