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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Pollard’

Jonathan Pollard: An Israeli Hero

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Our Sages say that in the month of Nissan, the people of Israel were redeemed from Egyptian bondage, and in the same month they will be redeemed in the future. This is a special month: the month of liberty. So who knows? Maybe this will be the month of our brother Jonathan Pollard’s redemption.

According to news reports, Secretary of State John Kerry is proposing that Israel expand the fourth scheduled release of Palestinian terrorists (a group that includes 14 Arab citizens of Israel) along with instituting a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria. All of this in exchange for the privilege of continuing to bask in the glory of the presence of the murderer of our Israeli sportsmen at the Munich Olympics, Mahmoud Abbas.

For all of this, Israel may get Pollard. Or maybe not.

On numerous occasions, Pollard has told me that he is not willing to go free in exchange for murderers. In principle, he is certainly right. The terrorists should have been executed long ago, and Pollard should have been out of prison long ago. Israel, however, being utterly at odds with its identity, is incapable of justifying its existence as a Jewish state. It cannot deal with the claim of the “justice of the Palestinian cause.” The result: we pay in the hard currency of a construction freeze or the release of murderers in exchange for the farce of a “peace process” that is supposed to address the Arab demand for justice.

Since Oslo Israel has discarded all the fundamental values of a normal nation, values like sovereignty, justice, morality and the sanctity of life. In light of that, and since this process will lead to the terrorist release and construction freeze that Kerry proposes with or without Pollard’s release, then at least he should go free.

The amazing Jonathan Pollard, however, refuses to participate in a Parole Board hearing as a precursor to his possible release. “I am not willing for other Jews to be murdered in exchange for my release,” he has said to me. When his words have been put to the ultimate test, he stands by them – making Pollard a modern-day hero of Israel. For the U.S. to use Pollard as a political bargaining chip is unbelievably villainous. In a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Israel a few weeks ago, I made this position clear to him.

As a side note regarding a construction freeze, the 2011 crisis over the high cost of housing broke out as a result of a previous construction freeze in Judea and Samaria. The additional pressure that was suddenly added to the housing market in Israel’s pre-1967 borders was like the extra vehicles that turn a traffic jam into a traffic gridlock. Thus I assume that an additional construction freeze will result in an additional housing shortage and an additional leap in housing prices.

But what won’t we do for the privilege of chatting with Mahmoud Abbas for another half year?

Nissan means “our miracles.” Apparently, we need a miracle. No, not the splitting of the physical Red Sea – as our physical and material situation has never been better. Instead, we need a miraculous “splitting” of our slave mentality. We need to leave the bondage of a slave’s mentality for the mentality of liberty.

The modern-day redemption from Egypt is totally an internal, Jewish affair. We are the Children of Israel and we are Pharaoh. It is we who are breathing life into the puppet, Mahmoud Abbas, and enslaving ourselves to his puppeteering. I pray that in this propitious month of Nissan, we will choose redemption.

NYT Promotes Arch-Terrorist as Peacemaker

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Marwan Barghouti is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for premeditated murder in attacks that killed five people, plus a few other crimes. The original prosecution charges accused him of perpetrating 37 attacks, running terrorist organizations, and recruiting and training terrorists.

The fact that Barghouti is also the most popular Palestinian Arab leader tells worlds about the Palestinian Arabs’ unreadiness for a credible peace agreement. Barghouti was a terrorist kingpin during the second intifada and unapologetically calls for a third intifada. He’s definitely not a Gandhi-type figure with peaceful instincts.

But that’s not the way the New York Times describes him in an article at the top of the foreign-news section in the April 8 edition (“Prisoner In Israel Is Linked To Talks – Popular Palestinian Serving Life Terms,” by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, page A4).

Rudoren suggests that releasing Barghouti could be the key to revive moribund negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. To buttress her argument, she digs up Palestinian Arabs who view Barghouti as the Palestinian Arab parallel to Jonathan Pollard, the convicted U.S. spy for Israel who’s serving a life term.  A perfect trade, it would seem. – Barghouti for Pollard.  Never mind that the former is a serial murderer – a charge not affixed to the latter.

What it comes down to, according to Palestinian Arab fans of Barghouti that Rudoren is eager to quote, is simply:  “Why not? Pollard is very important to Israel and Barghouti is important to us.”

But it happens that this quid pro quo is more the product of a feverish Rudoren imagination than the key to revival of peace negotiations.  Still, Rudoren and the Times are determined to go the extra mile to humanize Barghouti.

Consequently, Times readers are told that Barghouti “has a roommate and a television with 10 channels.  He can read any newspaper published in Israel but cannot have a computer.”  If the Times had its way, this nice Palestinian Arab fellow would not be so deprived.

In similar solicitous vein, Rudoren adds that Barghouti’s wife sees him every other Tuesday for 45 minutes, through glass; the last time they touched was in 2006.”  Ah, those tough Israeli prison conditions.

And here comes the ultimate punishment of Barghouti: “Last month, Ms. Barghouti brought their only grandchild, Talia, who was born last summer, but the baby was barred at the last door before the visiting room because she is not a first-degree relative.”  Get out the hankies!

To give the appearance of evenhanded reporting, Rudoren lays out in detail the charges against Barghouti – but not until the second-before-last paragraph.  How many readers, one might ask, get that far?  Which is of course, why Rudoren arranges that Barghouti’s dark side takes second place to all those up-close-and-personal, heart-tugging descriptions of a thoroughly scrubbed clean arch-terrorist.

And no cameos, of course, of Israeli victims of Barghouti’s terrorist forays.  That would go counter to Rudoren’s agenda.

Originally published at The American Thinker.

State Dept Press Corps Angry ‘Israel is Pushing Pollard Release’

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

In Tuesday’s daily press briefing conducted by the State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, several members of the media insinuated that it was Israel that raised the issue of Jonathan Pollard’s release from prison, as a condition for continuing the U.S. mediated “peace process” negotiations currently underway.

In fact, in a briefing that lasted less than 35 minutes, more than a third of the time was spent on the issue of Jonathan Pollard, and every one of the questions asked by the State Department press corps appeared to be an effort to convince the State Department that what they all characterized as an Israeli effort to get Pollard released was an outrage.

It was the first set of questions that was raised, it was the penultimate set of questions, and the questions were raised by no fewer than five different journalists, representing media outlets from across the globe.

Throughout the questioning, Harf maintained a solid line of no comment. She refused to comment on whether Pollard’s release was a matter under discussion during the “peace talks.”

The one definitive statement made repeatedly by Harf was “the President has not made a decision to release Jonathan Pollard.”

But several extraordinary things happened during the press conference, that is, extraordinary in addition to what seemed to be a united front by the journalists who were cross-examining the State Department spokesperson as to why would the U.S. buckle under a demand from Israel to release a convicted spy.

First, a significant comment made by Harf was deleted from the official transcript. That deletion specifically appeared to confirm for the journalists that Israel was the party which had raised the release of Pollard, rather than, as was the general sense in the Israeli media, that it was the U.S. who raised the issue in a desperate attempt to keep the “peace talks” alive.

Reproduced below, is the first relevant section of the transcript of Tuesday’s briefing. Even before this question, it should be noted, the journalist asking this first series of questions claimed that it was Abbas who cancelled the meeting with Secretary of State Kerry, not the other way around, as it has been generally reported.

QUESTION: (at 2:55) Do you want to give us some kind of readout on how it was that the Pollard release was put back up on the table? I know there’s been a lot of conflicting information over the last week, when these reports first surfaced in the Israeli press. We’d like a little clarification on exactly when and why and how, and whether or not Pollard’s release is still on the table, given that Abbas looks like he – that is what’s making him negative on the process right now. (at 3:23)

MS. HARF: (at 3:24) Well, a few points on that. First, the President has not made a decision to release Jonathan Pollard. I want to be very clear about that. Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence. I don’t have any further update on his status to provide today. In terms of this being a topic, (at 3:38)

THIS IS WHERE THE AUDIOTAPE OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE AND THE TRANSCRIPT DIFFER DRAMATICALLY.  WHAT HARF SAID AS REVEALED IN THE AUDIOTAPE, THOUGH IT DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE TRANSCRIPT AT ALL, IS:

it should be uh no surprise that the Israelis have frequently raised Jonathan Pollard in our discussions, uh, uh, throughout the peace process or at large, but I’m not going to get (at 3:50)

AND THEN THE TRANSCRIPT AND THE AUDIOTAPE RESUME TRACKING:

(at 3:51) into any of the details of the discussions that they’ve had with Secretary Kerry.

12 Hours, 2 Meetings for Netanyahu & Kerry; Abbas & Kerry, 0

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has left Israel without speaking to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and after two intense meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in less than 12 hours.

Kerry met in Jerusalem with Netanyahu for several hours on Monday evening and then again for another two hours on Tuesday morning before leaving to attend scheduled NATO ministerial meetings in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Although there was a possibility that Kerry might have gone to Ramallah for a quick meeting with Abbas late Monday night, he chose not to do so. It is believed he will return to Israel in the coming days, possibly to meet with Abbas at that time instead.

Abbas, meanwhile, chaired his own meeting Monday night with top officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the PA’s leading Fatah faction.

Officials decided to again appeal to United Nations agencies for recognition of the PA as an independent sovereign nation if Kerry does not force Israel to free a final group of 30 terrorist prisoners, according to the PA official who spoke with reporters.

Rumors that long-incarcerated Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard might be freed from a U.S. prison as a way to keep the talks going again were raised, but there has been no confirmation by an official source, U.S. or Israeli, that the report was true.

Likewise, an alleged proposal from Israel last Friday offering to free an additional 400 PA terrorist prisoners in exchange for the PA continuing the talks until the end of 2014, and refraining from its appeal to the United Nations, has not been confirmed.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney has told reporters he has “no update” on the status of Jonathan Pollard, and Israeli government officials are tight-lipped about the latest developments under discussion with the PA.

Rumor Mill Turns Pollard into a Bargaining Chip

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The media’s favorite “anonymous but official” sources are spreading the word that the Obama administration may be willing to release Jonathan Pollard if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu frees a few hundred terrorists, possibly including those with Israeli citizenship.

It is far from a done deal, but where there is smoke, there is fire, the same smoke that was blowing last week when the same story made the rounds, as reported here.

This time it is more serious because  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry must come up with the goods this week in order to keep his peace talks fantasy from disappearing into thin air.

President Barack Obama has consistently said that Pollard committed a “serious crime” and will not be pardoned, but it is no secret that one of his positions often take a back seat to one of his dearest principles, which is to control other leaders, especially Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli officials confirmed that the Obama administration has been willing to discuss the subject of freeing Pollard but added they have little hope that anything will come out of it. The officials certainly do not want to create great expectations, but they also may be telling the truth.

If the deal goes through, Pollard might even be freed in time for Passover, and the pundits already are playing up the concept of the release symbolizing the holiday celebrating the Jews freedom from slavery in Egypt. The comparison is strictly abstract, but it brings out all the emotions that Obama can use to play on the heartstrings of Israelis as well as many American Jews.

There is much more support in Israel for freeing Pollard than there is in the United States, where American patriots consider Pollard a spy, although he was not convicted for spying.

However, many former and current American officials have admitted that Pollard underwent an unfair trial and was unfairly punished. He was handed down a life sentence for passing on to Israel, an ally, classified information. The offense usually is punished with 2-4 years in jail.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who is travelling with  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, said Monday, “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence. I do not have any update for you on his status.”

Besides getting her facts wrong – Pollard was not convicted of espionage – she simply spews out whatever Kerry wants her to say, so her statement can be ignored.

If Kerry succeeds in forging an agreement between Netanyahu and Abbas to continue talks, at the price of Israel’s freeing hundreds of terrorists  in return for Pollard, a dual America-Israeli citizen, Pollard would feel like a prisoner of confused emotions as much he is a physical prisoner while in jail

He has dismissed previous attempts to win his release in exchange for Israel’s freeing terrorists, stating he would prefer to stay in jail than knowing he weakened Israel’s security and contributed to the spilling  of more blood. More than 120 Israelis have been murdered by terrorists who have been freed, many of them having signed a pledge never to return to terror.

White House Denies Concrete Plan to Swap Pollard

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The White House has denied an Israeli radio report broadcast Wednesday saying the U.S. proposed swapping convicted Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard for 26 Palestinian Authority terrorist prisoners to keep the Israel-PA talks alive.

Pollard is entering his 29th year in a U.S. prison, held on a single charge of passing classified information to a friendly ally (Israel) after his arrest in 1985. The crime normally carries a maximum jail term of two to four years.

Israel was set to release the 26 PA terrorists this week in a final tranche of four groups to complete an agreement made as a “good will gesture” on condition the PA would participate in “serious” talks. Since July 2013, 78 PA terrorists have been freed. A number of roadblocks at entrances to Arab cities and towns along major arteries in Judea and Samaria, where terrorists are known to take refuge, have also been opened and new roads paved with funding and assistance from the U.S. government.

But there has no been significant participation in negotiations by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas since November 2013, according to Jerusalem officials. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has notified the U.S. that many senior ministers in his coalition government are opposed to releasing the final group of terrorists, not having seen any real progress in the talks and no movement in any of the PA’s positions.

“There are no plans to release Jonathan Pollard at the moment,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki announced at a briefing. “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage against the United States – a very serious crime. He was sentenced to life and is currently serving his sentence,” she said. The spokesperson sidestepped the issue of whether or not a deal offering a prisoner swap had been offered.

The PA leader announced at an Arab League summit yesterday that he intends to move ahead with unilateral attempts to gain membership for the PA as an independent sovereign nation in international organizations, ignoring his own commitment. Both Abbas and the Arab League are insisting on preconditions by Israel to continue “negotiations” that require the Jewish State to pull back to the 1949 Armistice Line, withdrawing from all “occupied territories” won in 1967. They also demand Israel accept the “right of return” by Arab refugees who fled Israel in 1948 and 1967 and their millions of descendants, and refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

The Pollard-Shalit Hostage Negotiations

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Terrorists who murdered a friend of mine are supposedly on the list of terrorists to be released in this upcoming round of prisoner releases – all for the “privilege” of seating down with the PA chief terrorist for talks. That makes this particular terrorist release a bit more personal for me than some of the other releases.

The talk today in Israel is about the proposal that Kerry and Obama purportedly made to Abbas and Netanyahu.

Netanyahu will free these terrorists, Abbas will continue to sit and talk to Netanyahu until the end of the year or so, and Obama will, in exchange, free Jonathan Pollard.

A lot of thoughts went through my head when I heard this.

The first was the Wye Agreement, when Clinton promised Netanyahu that he would free Pollard, and then reneged on that. So I hope that if Netanyahu agrees, he learned his lesson, and will demand Pollard be released first.

But I also thought about Pollard being freed, with the disgusting price being demanded in return.

And that brought me to thinking about Gilad Shalit and Hamas.

Gilad Shalit was being held hostage by Hamas in order to obtain the release of terrorists, and now the message from the White House is that Pollard is being held hostage by Obama in order to obtain the release of terrorists.

The comparison is obvious, and here in Israel, where we’ve had a lot of unfortunate experience in this area – it’s what most of us are thinking.

I’m not going to discuss the morality of trading terrorists for hostages, but it is an incredibly difficult decision.

But I would ask Netanyahu to add one more condition to this hostage negotiation.

We don’t want these terrorists anywhere near us. Not in Israel, not in the PA.

We’ll take Pollard, in exchange for releasing the terrorists, so Abbas will pretend to talk to us some more. But we don’t want those terrorists anywhere near us.

Netanyahu should say our condition is as follows, the plane that is bringing Jonathan Pollard home to Israel, should, on its way back to America, be transporting all those released terrorists to their new homes – in America.

That’s a fair trade.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/the-pollard-shalit-hostage-negotiations/2014/03/26/

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