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'Strike While the Iron is Hot to Free Pollard'

Veteran journalist calls on Israel to use US spy revelations to end Pollard's 'cruel and incomprehensibly long imprisonment.'
By Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 12/23/2013, 12:08 PM

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Yehuda Glick

Veteran Israeli journalist Dan Margalit called on Israel to act immediately to free Jonathan Pollard, now in his 29th year in a US jail, following recent revelations of US spying on Israeli leaders that surfaced last Friday.

"This is a window of opportunity to try and save Pollard from continued imprisonment," wrote Margalit in his Yisrael Hayom column. "We should strike while the iron is hot, and only on one point: Pollard, Pollard, Pollard."

Margalit noted that "(Former US President) Bill Clinton promised (Prime Minister) Binyamin Netanyahu at the Wye Summit negotiations that he would free Pollard, but was deterred from doing so by US spy agency leaders' threats. Now they are no longer a central player, embroiled in retreat and embarrassment."

The veteran journalist's calls echo those made by Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Lawrence Korb on Saturday night, when he said that Pollard's imprisonment is "absurd" and a "moral embarrassment" given US spying on Israeli leaders.

Margalit remarked on the nature of Israeli-US relations, writing "there is no benefit in the words of senior Israeli officials, that preach morals to the US over its text message eavesdropping system that it has developed worldwide. Science is strength, and America has the means to achieve it."

"Therefore, whoever is caught (spying) will blush or have its emissary sent to jail, but there is no room for anger over the fallout that characterizes the classic diplomatic retreat from invasive technology. Relations between regimes are not similar to the obligation of every government to preserve the right to privacy of its own citizens," commented Margalit.

However, Margalit notes that while the spying may not be an unexpected development, it does change things.

"Due to the revelations of Edward Snowden a new reality has been created on the troubling topic of Jonathan Pollard's cruel and incomprehensibly long imprisonment," writes Margalit. "Why do they insist on holding him in jail when he didn't harm the US like they have been doing? Why insist on abusing him more than devoted anti-American spies?"

After Pollard's arrest, "Israel stopped digging for US secrets," asserts Margalit. He adds "if Israel had something, it was dismantled to prevent future fiascoes. The Americans know it too."

"If so, what do they want from the man who hasn't left his cell's walls for 29 years? The man that had an implied understanding he would be imprisoned for 10 years? The man that the American administration breached its plea bargain with?" questions Margalit.

Israeli MKs have similarly raised their voices against Pollard's ongoing imprisonment in light of the new spying revelations.

MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), head of Israel's task force to free Pollard, said this week "a relationship between allies demands reciprocity. It is impossible that while...Pollard rots in prison after several decades over spying allegations...Israel should take this exposure of the US's spying activities against Israel quietly."

Likewise MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) wrote to Netanyahu, urging him to act in securing Pollard's release. Hotovely wrote "while (the US) systematically spies on its friends in the world, it cannot justify the fact that Pollard is languishing in an American prison."