Sunday, June 30, 2013

Refusal to release Pollard causes stalemate in talks to return Abbas to table

Dr. Aaron Lerner..
IMRA Observation..
28 June '13..

Ma'an, the independent Palestinian news agency, reported this morning that secret talks are being held over the release of pre-Oslo prisoners. PA head Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that 107 Palestinians detained before the Oslo agreement must be released before the PLO will return to negotiations with Israel.

First a technical note: when PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Ma'an the release of prisoners detained before 1993 was part of the 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh memorandum and that Israel was obliged to abide by it he was a barefaced liar. And I say bareface liar because, unlike some of his Israeli counterparts, Erekat actually knows the text of the 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh memorandum, and that document in no way obligates Israel to release those prisoners.

If Israel releases these terrorists it is because it decided to do it - not because it is obligated to.

Now let's set the stage:

Here we are with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry going on and on about how important and critical it is for Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table and how we Israelis have to make sacrifices.

And he is pushing us to release the 107 terrorists who carried out crimes against Israel more than two decades ago that were so despicable that they are still in prison today.

So here is the simple question: if U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his boss President Obama genuinely believe that the talks are important, why aren't they willing to make a "sacrifice" themselves?

A cold realpolitik fact: if President Obama offered to free Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the 107 terrorists PM Netanyahu would have no choice but accept the deal.

Netanyahu would have absolutely no excuse to refuse the deal. After all, is there any element in the ruling coalition that would stop it? Of course not.

Yes, Jonathan Pollard himself objects to being part of such schemes, but he has no say in the matter. He is no more than a pawn in this story - just as he was a pawn at Wye and elsewhere.

Don't get me wrong - justice demands that Pollard be immediately released without any strings attached.

But I am not talking about justice.

I am talking about what commitment the Obama administration actually has to advancing the Palestinian-Israeli "peace process".

We Israelis have been subject to their endless preaching about how we have to make sacrifices.

But if it is more important to President Obama to unjustly keep Jonathan Pollard behind bars than to facilitate a return of the Palestinians to the table then this speaks volumes regarding the lack of an American commitment to advancing the "peace process".

To be clear: the release of Pollard does not require a long procedure involving numerous authorities. It requires a pen, a piece of paper and a president willing to sign.


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