Arutz7 Interview on M.K.s' Visit to Pollard
Esther Pollard Interview with Ariel Kahane
Arutz7 Radio News - Translated from Hebrew - May 2, 2001
Ariel Kahane: Two Israeli Knesset Members currently in the US visited yesterday with Jonathan Pollard in prison. Pollard is serving his 16th year of a life sentence for his activities on behalf of Israel. The two Knesset members who visited him were Mickey Eitan (Likud) and Ophir Pines (One Israel) who is chairman of the Knesset Law Committee and a long-time member of the Knesset Lobby for Pollard.
In the wake of the M.K.s' prison visit, we are pleased to speak with Jonathan Pollard's wife, Esther. Shalom Esther!
Esther Pollard: Shalom Ariel!
Ariel Kahane: Do you perhaps know something about what took place during this meeting between the M.K.s and your husband?
Esther Pollard: Yes, I spoke with my husband. He told me about the meeting. This is not the first time he has met with Ophir Pines and Mickey Eitan. Jonathan told me that they were just blown away by his physical appearance. It has been some time since they last saw him, and the truth is he looks really awful.
My husband's health is deteriorating and getting worse every day. We tried to.. .not to convince... but just to make the Prime Minister understand just how serious Jonathan's health is, but he just dismissed the whole issue. But these two M.K.s saw for themselves and they were simply stunned. They are afraid. They are really afraid for him. Jonathan's beard is white. His hair is white. He is swollen all over. He is sick, pale and in constant pain. And no one here (in the Israeli government) cares except for a few people like these M.K.s.
Ariel Kahane: Is he depressed?
Esther Pollard: How could he not be? After 16 years in prison in the harshest conditions... and he is held by our closest ally!
He told me that he told the M.K.s that there are moments when he envies Ron Arad (the Israeli airman who has been missing in action for years). Again, they were stunned and they asked him, "How can that be?!" And he replied that Ron Arad might at least be able to understand why Israel is having so much trouble securing his release since he is held by our enemies and we do not even know exactly where. "But," he said, "Here I am in the hands of Israel's best ally, yet the government of Israel acts as if they had to secure my release from our worst enemy and as if they do not dare make a move to free me."
Ariel Kahane: But our impression is, after all Netanyahu at Wye, and also others I imagine really tried to free Jonathan, and they are trying to free him...
Esther Pollard: No no no!
This a big problem that people here do not understand and do not know, and I blame the Government for that, which allowed American lies to fed to the press. The media here never got the real story out about what really happened at Wye.
And what really happened at Wye? I am now quoting from the Knesset record for February 28th of this year. (Minister) Dani Naveh got up in the Knesset and he stated that Jonathan's release was secured at Wye; that it was secured as an integral part of the Wye Accords. And it was during this Knesset discussion that Naveh stated that the fact that Ehud Barak had failed to insist on Jonathan's release before Clinton left office was a disgrace since this was a commitment that had been made to Israel, and not to any specific Prime Minister. It was, he said, a commitment between 2 nations and not between 2 specific leaders.
And this commitment still exits and the current Prime Minister knows it, and he knows that Jonathan's release has already been obtained and that all he has to do is get him.
Ariel Kahane: You mean that if they would pressure they can free him?
Esther Pollard: I don't understand the question.
Ariel Kahane: I am asking if, in your opinion, the Government applied some pressure on the US, or even a lot of pressure on the United States if this would bring about Jonathan's release.
Esther Pollard: Here, is the most amazing thing: it does not require any pressure at all! All that is needed is a small initiative, and even to make a small initiative, the government is not willing.
Two weeks ago, I met with the Prime Minister, along with Jonathan's rabbi, Kavod HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, and with his lawyer, Larry Dub, and along with Minister Rechavaam Ze'evi. The four of us sat in front of the Prime Minister and we presented him with a plan that we got from a contact at the highest levels of the American Administration - someone close to Bush, who has his ear and knows his heart. This contact advised us that before Passover, Bush would be open to receiving an important religious personality (namely, Jonathan's rabbi, Kavod HaRav Eliyahu) as an official representative of the Israeli government, and that such a meeting would make it easy for him to release Jonathan into his custody as a gesture for the holiday.
Ariel Kahane: But what about the opposition of the American Intelligence community?
Esther Pollard: It is irrelevant. What people here (in Israel) do not understand is that the Constitution grants President of the United States powers of executive clemency that are virtually unlimited. The President can grant clemency to whomever he chooses, whenever he wishes - just as Clinton proved when he released the 14 Puerto Rican terrorists, members of the FALN terrorist organization. Every one of his government agencies opposed their release - the CIA, the FBI, everyone opposed, and there were threats of resignations etc. Nevertheless Clinton granted clemency to the FALN terrorists and they were released and nothing happened. No one resigned. The whole thing just blew over.
And the same type of thing occurred on the 20th of January this year when Clinton granted a host of questionable pardons. He pardoned Marc Rich - and by the way, what few people here realize is that Rich never spent a single day in prison! His "imprisonment" is a joke! He was living in a villa in Switzerland, but he wasn't happy. He wasn't happy because he could not travel wherever he wanted to (because of the Interpol warrant for his arrest that the US had issued.) That was it!
Ariel Kahane: Esther Pollard, your words are very hard to listen to... I thank you very much for speaking with us.
Knesset Members: Pollard in Failing Health and Spirits
Exposé: Using Pollard to Get Rich
An Emblematic Failure
The Clemency Page