Palestinians, Not Israelis, Played Pollard Card At Wye
November 1, 1998 - Memo and CNN Excerpt
During the recent negations at the Wye Summit , the Palestinian
delegation raised the issue of the release of Jonathan Pollard and
suggested that if the Americans would make the gesture to Israel, then
Israel's might in turn drop its demand for extradition of Ghazi Jebali,
(chief of police in Gaza and responsible for planning terrorist
attacks.) All parties agreed, and a deal was sealed Thursday night, October 22, 1998.
President Clinton promised that he would give Mr.
Netanyahu a side-letter the following morning Friday October 23, 1998
specifying that Mr. Pollard would be released to Israel 20 days after
the signing of the formal accord that same day (October 23, 1998).
next morning Mr. Clinton failed to produce the promised side-letter, but
still expected Mr. Netanyahu to go through with signing the formal
accord. Mr. Netanyahu's strong protest and Clinton's complete turn-about
on the deal drew world attention. The CIA added to the imbroglio by
leaking the story to the media and by immediately launching a smear
campaign on Capitol Hill to torpedo any chance of releasing Jonathan
Pollard. (Note the close cooperation and support of Israel completely
absent from the CIA's efforts on Capitol Hill.. this is the same CIA
that is now to monitor Palestinian security commitments...)
following item is excerpted from an October 25, 1998 CNN interview of
Prime Minister Netanyahu by Wolf Blitzer. In this interview (and others)
Mr. Netanyahu confirms that it was NOT the Israeli delegation that put
the Pollard Card on the negotiating table, but the Palestinians.
independent sources in both delegations confirm Mr. Netanyahu's
statement. (See also Peace process or spin politics?)
CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer - Exerpt - October 25, 1998
BLITZER: ... How did it come about Friday morning that Jonathan J.
that that issue disrupted this peace signing ceremony for so many hours? What happened?
NETANYAHU: Well, the issue of Pollard was not presented by us at that
time. It had been raised previously by me, and previously to
including the first day of the Wye talks.
BLITZER: Directly to the president?
NETANYAHU: Yes. But all I can say is that I hope that we would find a
to release Pollard. has, did a terrible thing. He did a thing that we,
has paid for. He has been, now, virtually in solitary confinement for
13 years. And he did what he did not to hurt the United States, but in a
mistaken effort to help Israel against Saddam Hussein, against Iraq
He shouldn't have done it. He's paid dearly for it. And I had hoped
in the course of winding up this negotiation, where I'm asked to free
hundreds, 750 Palestinian prisoners, who have committed crimes against
Israel, I'm asked to free them -- I'm going to -- that the same will
here, that there would be an opportunity to find this moment of
The president explained to me that there's a process, a review process
he must go through and I hope that he and his colleagues who'll make
evaluation will find pity in their hearts to forgive.
BLITZER: But did you have any reason to believe Friday morning he would
release Jonathan J. Pollard, and he might even fly home with you on your
NETANYAHU: Well, I certainly had hoped that that would happen, not
necessarily that he would fly back on the plane, but that he would be
released. And I still hope that he would be released.
BLITZER: But there was one suggestion by one Israeli official, who said
me directly that the president reneged on a commitment.
NETANYAHU: I'm just not going to get into this whole area, and I think,
accept that the president will make a deep and introspective look into
this. And I hope that he finds the way and the will to allow us to
back this person, who did wrong for America, but did it out of, did it
a reason he believed was just.
You know, I've looked at the years in which the United States fought for
its MIAs, and sometimes even for its agents. And I've always respected
that. And essentially, that's what we're trying to do. He served his
time, and he's paid a heavy price. And I just hope that out of totally
humanitarian reasons, he will be set free and allowed to go to Israel.
BLITZER: One last question on this point, though. Do you have any
commitments from the president, any understanding beyond what he said
publicly, that he would review it, that he made no commitment to you?
NETANYAHU: He merely said that he would review it, and he did not tell
what the outcome of that review would be....