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Free Pollard Now

By Michael Freund
10/4/2005, 12:00 AM

When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets US President George W. Bush in Texas, it seems safe to say that they will not have any trouble finding issues to talk about.

From Israel’s planned Gaza withdrawal to the Palestinians’ ongoing failure to fight terror to the terrorists’ renewal of mortar attacks in the past few days, the two leaders will have to tackle an intricate and complex agenda.

But there is one matter which they should be able to resolve fairly easily, if only they have the will to do so: the case of Jonathan Pollard.

For the past 20 years, Pollard has been rotting in jail in the United States after being sentenced to life in prison for passing confidential information to Israel.

The facts of his case are well-known, so there is no need to repeat them here. But suffice it to say that the sentence he received violated the plea-bargain agreement he made with the US government, and that spies convicted of working for America’s enemies have received far more lenient terms of imprisonment than Pollard did.

Prime Minister Sharon has demonstrated a decided lack of interest in the case, doing virtually nothing to seek clemency for him – and that has got to change. Whatever one may think of Pollard and his actions, the fact is that he worked on Israel’s behalf and it is therefore the Government’s responsibility to help him.

With Sharon doing his best to please the American government in just about every possible sphere, there is simply no reason why he can’t “cash in” a chip or two and ask Bush to set Pollard free.

After all, Pollard did the crime, and he has done the time. And now it is time to bring him home.