Political Parties Ask Peres: Work to Free Pollard
Ten parties from across the political spectrum that are running for the 19th Knesset have united in a call to President Shimon Peres to work for the release of Jonathan Pollard, who recently began his 28th year in a U.S. jail.
The parties involved in the latest move are the Jewish Home, Hatnua headed by Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, Labor, United Torah Judaism, Likud, Shas, Meretz, Kadima and Otzma LeYisrael headed by Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari.
In a letter to Peres released Thursday, the parties wrote, "Despite the many differences and disagreements between us which are made even clearer during this period, it is important for us to unite and make a joint request to you on behalf of all our voters."
They added, "Mr. President, we are writing to you after we learned again about a deterioration in Jonathan's condition. On November 21, Jonathan entered his 28th in an American prison. Together with the hope and prayer for his well-being, one cannot ignore the painful reminder that the man they might end his life in prison. We, the representatives of the parties running for the Knesset, appeal to you to act in any way for Jonathan's release before it's too late."
The letter also includes a reference to a recently released CIA report that revealed that Pollard, who was convicted in the U.S. of spying for Israel, never sought to obtain information about U.S. activities. Rather, he was instructed by his Israeli handlers to obtain information about Israel's enemies.
"These days, when Israel and the U.S. are about to start on a clean slate and start a new era, we believe that your special relationship with President Obama may finally bring an end to the tragedy of Jonathan and his family," the parties wrote Peres.
In June, Peres was in the United States where he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. In a meeting between the two prior to the ceremony, Peres asked Obama to grant a pardon for Pollard on humanitarian grounds, but Obama's spokesman made sure to clarify even before the ceremony took place that “our position has not changed and will not change today” regarding Pollard.
During a visit to Israel in July, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage, sentenced to life imprisonment and is serving the sentence. I do not have any expectation that this will change.”