Thursday, May 14, 2009

Students to Netanyahu: Bring Pollard Home!

Jonathan Pollard: 8575 days in prison
Iyar 20, 5769, 14 May 09 07:00by Hillel Fendel
( The Students for Pollard organization has sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the eve of his departure for the United States.
The letter emphasizes the poor and declining state of health of Jonathan Pollard, who has sat in American prison for 23.5 years. Pollard was not convicted of treason, but only of one count of passing classified information to a friendly country – Israel.
Despite overwhelming support for Pollard’s release from Jewish communities around the world, small-sized but vocal Jewish elements in the United States work to stymie efforts for his release, wrongfully claiming that he has not shown remorse, that he betrayed US agents, and that American Jewish espionage for Israel is a stab in the back to Israel’s friend, the United States.
The students, on the other hand, write, “Jonathan Pollard worked for the State of Israel and on its behalf, and the State’s obligation to ensure his return home is absolute. The state of his health has deteriorated of late, and his life is now in genuine danger.”
In fact, Pollard has shown remorse for his actions several times. He was not indicted for intending to harm U.S. security, nor for having caused the deaths or compromised the identities of any U.S. intelligence agents. In addition, the information that he gave Israel was being deliberately withheld by elements in the U.S. national security establishment, even though Israel was legally entitled to it according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. The withheld information included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile warfare capabilities being developed for use against Israel, as well as information on planned terrorist attacks against Israel.
The students' letter recalls that Netanyahu took strong action on Pollard’s behalf during his previous term in office, and asks him to resume where he left off: “We have no doubt that you are aware of the importance and urgency of this matter, and we believe in your ability to put an end to this story and bring Pollard back home, as the entire nation hopes.”
The letter continues, “The severity of Pollard’s punishment, and the conditions under which he is being held, are far worse than the customary conditions in the United States. U.S. President Obama is famous for his approach to human rights in general, and easing prison conditions in particular. For this reason, the people of Israel expect the honorable president to lead by example and make a humanitarian gesture in pardoning Pollard."
The students' organization further states that “now is the time to do whatever we can to sound our cry on behalf of our brother Jonathan wherever possible, and to write to him, and to pray for his release from prison.”
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