Danon: Freeing Pollard Has Nothing to do With Freeing Terrorists
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said that, as promised, he would resign his post if the government released more terrorists in order to keep talks going with the Palestinian Authority – even if Jonathan Pollard was part of the deal.
The fourth “installment” of the release of Palestinian terrorists which had been set for Saturday night was delayed, with a new target date not yet announced. The delay, Danon believes, is due to the opposition he and other ministers have expressed to the releases.
Israel agreed to release about 100 terrorists last summer, as a “concession” to persuade Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to resume peace talks after a three year hiatus. The last batch was set to be released Saturday night, but Netanyahu, apparently under pressure from his ministers, has postponed the release – permanently, Danon hopes.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu faces a lot of pressures, but we can also pressure him,” Danon said. “It should be clear to everyone now that we are not going to release terrorists without getting something back.”
That “something” could be Jonathan Pollard, who has been imprisoned in the US for nearly three decades on charges of spying for Israel. Danon hoped that Pollard would be released, but as far as he is concerned there cannot, and should not be any connection between Pollard's release and freedom for terrorists.
“The Americans are playing a game with Pollard's fate, and this makes me very angry,” he said. Pollard is not a terrorist, and to equate him with terrorists was an insult, Danon said.
And even Pollard's release would not sway him from opposing the release of terrorists, because at the very least because it would just encourage more terrorism. “The next terrorist will say that it's worth it to carry out an attack, because even if he is captured he will be let go the next time the terrorists kidnap an Israeli soldier like Gilad Shalit,” for whom Israel exchanged over 1,000 terrorists two years ago. “I want each terrorist to know that we will never forget what they did, and that we will take revenge on them,” he added.