Urgent Memo To Dani Naveh
April 5, 1998 - Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA
Background: Minister of Infrastructure Ariel Sharon charged at the
Cabinet meeting today (April 5) that Israel has mismanaged the
Pollard Affair from the start and that the time has come for Israel
to take full responsibility for Pollard's actions as an agent for
Israel. Sharon was prompted to make these remarks after a draft
of a letter to President Clinton to be signed by the government and
opposition and Knesset was read.
The letter lacks any acknowledgement on
the part of Israel for its role in the affair and does not take
responsibilty for Pollard or for the operation. The draft included the
particularly damaging statement that "We do not have any claims as
regards the legal measures taken against him [Pollard], in light of
the serious actions for which he was convicted, and for which
Jonathan Pollard has expressed his deep sorrow and repentance."
In a letter and follow-up memo written to Cabinet Secretary Dani
Naveh, Jonathan Pollard explains why the exclusion of any sign of
Israel taking responsibilty for him as an agent and for his operation
would make the letter appear to the Americans as a cheap publicity
stunt for domestic Israeli consumption. Such a letter, Pollard
warns, would worsen rather than help Pollard's situation.
The following is the complete text of the memo:
Urgent Memo - April 5, 1998
To: Dani Naveh
From: Jonathan Pollard
Dear Mr. Naveh
It is urgent that you call an immediate halt to the letter to Mr.
Clinton, until the text is substantially corrected. The text of
the letter as it stands now will do more harm than good.
It is more important that the text of the letter be constructive
and be signed only by the Prime Minister and Mr. Barak than it is
that the whole world sign it.
To that end, I would prefer that only the two leaders sign a text
similar to the one I just sent you in my last letter than to have
everyone sign a text that hands the Americans the opportunity to
keep me here and bury me alive for a long time to come - which is
exactly what the current text does.
The critical element missing from the letter is Israel's
acknowledging responsibility for me and for the operation.
There has been a lot of publicity in America around the Bagatz and
around Israel's offer to recognize me in a backhanded and
disingenuous way. All our Washington sources tell me that the
Administration is waiting for a definitive sign from the government
of Israel to see if the Government is indeed serious this time.
The sign that they are waiting for is for Israel to unequivocally
acknowledge me as its agent and to admit that this was a sanctioned
operation. Unless and until such elements appear in the letter,
then it is preferable that no letter be written.
What is also critical is for Israel to repeat in this letter that
I have expressed my unqualified remorse on numerous occasions, and
to repeat that Israel has apologized for the operation in the past
and now does so again, while assuring the United States that steps
have been taken so that there will never again be a reoccurrence.
Moreover, the letter should state that "Mr. Pollard does not pose
a security threat to the United States, and that the State of
Israel would see to it that any conditions imposed upon the release
of Mr. Pollard would be honored to the letter."
I am relieved that Yuli Edelstein was able to help you understand
how damaging the current letter is not only because of the critical
element that is lacking but also because it justifies the Draconian
punishment I received and paints me black in order to keep Israel
white. Evidence of Israel's involvement in the operation up to the
highest levels of the government is overwhelming so these kinds of
statements just anger the Americans because Israel is still trying
to play them for fools. This just makes them more determined to
keep me here to spite Israel.
If Israel is sincere about bringing me home, the sine qua non of my
liberation is Israel's unequivocal acknowledgment of me as her
Especially at this late date, and after all the publicity, the
United States will not take seriously any request that omits this
As per my last letter to you, I repeat, that once Israel makes the
request in these terms, the United State would finally be in the
position to accede to Israel's request.
P.S. For your convenience, here is a reprise of the text suggested
in my previous letter. The elements suggested above regarding
remorse, Israel's apology repeated, and Israel's guarantees for my
conduct can be added to this basic text.
Allow me to suggest a formulation along the following lines:
Mr. President, Jonathan Pollard, who served the State of Israel as
an agent in a sanctioned operation, has now served more than twice
as long in prison
as any agent in the history of the United States
for a similar offense. He is an Israeli citizen, and the
Government of Israel accepts full responsibility for him. The
government and the People of Israel would deeply appreciate your
granting clemency to Mr. Pollard at this time, so that he may be
returned to Israel in a humanitarian gesture for Israel's 50th
anniversary. The Government and the People of Israel look forward
to greeting Vice President Al Gore at the Israeli Independence Day
Celebrations. It would be an important confidence-building gesture
if Mr. Pollard were to be returned home in time for Independence
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