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Daily Israel Report

Bereaved Parents to White House: 'Free Pollard Now'

Push for Pollard's release escalates ahead of final terrorist release.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/28/2014, 1:26 PM

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Yehuda Glick

Bereaved families, whose relatives' murderers were released as a "gesture" to Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the context of ongoing peace talks between Israel and the PA, have turned to the White House to return the favor with Jonathan Pollard, Ma'ariv reports Friday. 

Several families signed a letter demanding Pollard's release, which they are sending to President Barack Obama via the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to the daily.

"We can only ask you the most elementary request: to limit Pollard's sentence," the petition notes. "After you caused the Israeli government to release 80 murderers of wives and children to create a 'good atmosphere' [for negotiations], you no longer have a place for arguments and explanations. Enough - release Jonathan [Pollard]." 

Gila Molcho, whose brother Ian Feinberg was murdered by terrorists in the EU's offices in Gaza in 1993, signed the petition; so did Bella Becker, whose husband Moshe was murdered by terrorists in 1994.

All in all, over twenty families - all of whom have seen their relatives' killers released as part of the waves of releases scheduled during negotiations - signed the petition calling for the Israeli prisoner's release. 

The families wrote to Obama that they are unable to legitimize his push for the terrorists to be released in light of the Pollard affair, and call for the US to prevent further releases from going through.

Pollard has recently been subject of a high-profile campaign for his release, now in his 29th year of incarceration in a US jail on spying allegations. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and held ever since. 

Calls for his release escalated since it was revealed last month that the US and UK have been spying on top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Pollard was arrested on charges far less serious, critics noted, and slammed the Obama administration for "hypocrisy." 

Israel agreed to release 104 terrorist prisoners as a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a precondition to ongoing peace talks. So far, 78 have been released; the final batch is reportedly due to be released on March 28