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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Pollard’

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.

U.S. Reportedly Offers Israel Pollard Prisoner Exchange for PA Terrorists

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

The United States has allegedly pulled out its ace in the hole this week, reportedly offering at last to free imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the release by Israel of 26 Palestinian Authority terrorist prisoners.

The move, reported Wednesday morning by Ilil Shachar on IDF Army Radio, would force Israel to complete the last of a four-stage prisoner release that has thus far freed 78 PA inmates from Israeli jails.

Israeli government officials could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett told The Jewish Press, “Nothing is official, and we have not been given any information at this point. We haven’t been told anything other than the report we heard this morning on the radio.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed eight months ago to the “good will gesture” as a means of testing the truth of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s resolve as a peace partner in working towards a final status deal.

Netanyahu stated from the outset in an “open letter to the citizens of Israel” that the process would depend upon the actions of the PA and its ability to prove it is “really serious and not playing games.”

Pollard’s incarceration in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation (Israel) has long been a sore point for Jews and Israelis the world over. The crime normally carries a maximum prison term of two to four years. Pollard has been often been held in harsh and sometimes inhumane conditions, and has suffered serious health problems as a result. Despite numerous appeals for his release by hundreds of American and Israeli leaders, every U.S. president has turned a deaf ear to requests for clemency, to terminate his sentence to time served.

According to the report, the alleged U.S. decision to offer Pollard in exchange for the PA prisoners came after Prime Minister Netanyahu told the White House officials that too many of his coalition members opposed the release.

Among those opposing the release were senior officials including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.

Shachar reported the U.S. proposed the swap deal for Pollard on condition that Israel would free the fourth round of 26 PA terrorists, which includes some 20 Israeli Arab citizens. The PA, in return, would also agree not to withdraw from the talks at least until the end of 2014.

Nevertheless, it is entirely possible the offer may have come too late.

Israeli advocacy groups, the Israeli public and numerous Israeli officials appear fed up with the White House intransigence on Pollard’s incarceration – and resent using him as a bargaining chip over the safety of Israeli citizens. Some have said they will not agree to support such a deal.

Pollard himself has said that he will not agree to be used in a prisoners swap for Arab terrorists.

Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab League yesterday at its summit in Kuwait that the PA has no interest in continuing negotiations with Israel. Both the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority has categorically refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. They continue to insist on the so-called “right of return” for millions of Arabs, generations later, to return to homes they fled after the wars of 1948 and 1967. They also insist Israel hand them a major part of Jerusalem including Judaism’s holy sites, to which Jews would then have no access whatsoever.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials are set to meet with PA leaders to discuss the proposal today.

Visiting Tel Aviv, Capturing Iranian Ships, and Jews in Ukraine

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai and Malkah kick of this week’s show with Malkah discussing her and Yishai’s recent trip to Tel Aviv with her visiting sister and brother in-law and the amazing time they had on the boardwalk. Yishai moves on to talk about an Iranian ship that was captured by Israeli commandos in the sea and also how Jews are being treated currently in Ukraine with Yishai talking about a new friend he met at the gym that has first-hand experience with Ukrainian life. Yishai and Malkah talk about health issues that are being faced by Jonathan Pollard, who has been held in American prison for almost 30 years and how American President Obama needs to release him. They wrap the segment up by further talking about the Israeli capture of an Iranian vessel and how this affects the relationship between Israel and its allies.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Jonathan Pollard Underwent Emergency Surgery

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Jonathan Pollard was hospitalized on Wednesday, after becoming seriously ill.

After being rushed to the hospital, Pollard underwent surgery, but it not currently known for what specific health problem.

Pollard’s health has been seriously deteriorating as of late.

Refuah Sheleimah.

Pollard Pardon? Not Now

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence for the crimes he committed nearly 30 years ago is, without a doubt, both a travesty of justice and completely disproportionate.

Indeed, I offered Pollard advice and help when he called me from prison for some years in the mid-1990s. For example, I published an original document about his trial in 1997 and evinced new information about him from Caspar Weinberger in a 1999 interview. I have maintained a weblog entry exposing the rank hypocrisy of U.S. leaders who come down so hard on Pollard even as American intelligence services spy no less, and probably much more, on Israel.

I mention these bona fides because I do not want Barack Obama to pardon Pollard.

While delighted by this prospect for the prisoner and his family, after so many years and so much emotional freighting, his pardon will certainly carry a high strategic cost (just as did the release of Gilad Shalit). I expect an exorbitant price in the currency of Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians or even toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Cool U.S.-Israel relations have their benefit when Obama, Kerry, Hagel, Brennan, and Rice are running the foreign policy show.

Accordingly, and with a heavy heart, I call on the free-Pollard advocates to cease their efforts until a president with an understanding of American interests comes to office.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-lions-den-daniel-pipes-columns-indepth/pollard-pardon-not-now/2014/02/25/

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