MK Ariel to Peres: Refuse the Medal

MK Ariel calls on President Peres to refuse the Medal of Freedom, after White House says there's no change regarding Pollard.

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Elad Benari,

MK Uri Ariel
MK Uri Ariel
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Chairman of the State Control Committee and the Chairman of the Knesset Lobby for Jonathan Pollard, MK Uri Ariel (National Union), called on President Shimon Peres on Wednesday to refuse the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Ariel made the comments after White House Spokesman Jay Carney told journalists that “our position has not changed and will not change today” regarding Jonathan Pollard.

“I would simply remind you that Mr. Pollard was convicted of very serious crimes,” Carney said. In his meeting with his American counterpart Wednesday, President Peres will ask Obama to grant a pardon for Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds.

“The U.S. blatantly violates basic human rights,” said MK Ariel in response to Carney’s comments. “I appeal to the President not to accept the Medal of Freedom.”

Professor Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, said this week that American sources are behind the claims that Israel has been hiding information from the United States regarding Jonathan Pollard.

These sources are sometimes hostile to Israel, he said.

“They tried to pull out various arguments, not necessarily grounded in facts, in order to prevent Pollard's release,” said Rabinovich. “These are unfair and intentional arguments.”

Dennis Ross, former President Bill Clinton’s chief advisor for the Oslo Accords, has written in his new book that he advised Clinton to keep Jonathan Pollard in jail as political barter even though he thought his life prison sentence was not justified.