Transcript: Radio Kol Chai: Is Olmert holding "secret talks to free Pollard"?
Interview with Esther Pollard - October 17, 2007
Click here to listen to the original interview in Hebrew.
Radio Kol Chai Host, Gideon Katz, interviewed Esther Pollard in a live broadcast in Hebrew (17/10/07) following the publication of a Yediot Achronot news article (17/10/ 07) by senior political correspondent Itamar Eichner, which claims that in response to a petition by the leaders of all the Knesset factions, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has issued a letter which reveals the existence of "secret talks" with Bush and other American officials "to advance" the issue of Jonathan Pollard.
It should be noted that Yediot did not contact Jonathan Pollard or his representatives for their response to this 'breaking news', as is standard practice in Israeli journalism. The article also mistakenly reported that Pollard is "serving his 21st year" of a life sentence (instead of completing his 22nd year), which apparently led the interviewer to open with the same error.
The following is a transcript of Radio Kol Chai's interview with Esther Pollard, translated into English by Justice4JP:
Radio Kol Chai: Twenty-one years, I am not talking about Ron Arad, 8000 days in an American prison; I am talking about Jonathan Pollard. There are no words to describe the suffering and the anguish of his family and of all the people who care about him. His wife Esther is on the line. Shalom Esther!
Esther Pollard: Shalom! That's 22 years!
Radio Kol Chai: 22 years.
Esther Pollard: He is will be competing 22 years in prison next month.
Radio Kol Chai: Just incredible! How do you explainlook, even with the issue of Ron Arad, whose fate is unknown, the whole country is talking about it, the leaders are talking about it, and even though there have been no results, there is still some sense of activity on the issue; do you feel that in the case of your husband there is any activity? We read in Yediot; we hear that they are working on it; that Prime Minster spoke with Bush about it privately (with no witnesses).
Esther Pollard: [laughs]. I just spoke with my husband a few minutes ago. He laughed when I read him the [Yediot] article. The whole article, which claims that Olmert spoke with Bush, and that his people, top Israeli officials, continue to speak with the Americans about it, is ridiculous. It is nonsense. It's just PR for Olmert, only to in order to, who knows what! Perhaps to help his image before he tries to divide Jerusalem, G-d forbid!
If there were any activity [to secure Jonathan's release] we would be the first to know about it; not the last. When there really are contacts to free a captive, first you see the captive here, and then you hear about it. The fact that you are hearing all this "spin" in the media, with no results, indeed with nothing it is all empty talk and lies. Nothing more than PR.
Radio Kol Chai: Yes, but you know there was some sort of petition by all the heads of the Knesset Factions, and some sort of letter to the President of the United States, things that indicate they are working to free your husband.
Esther Pollard: Not true. It is true that there was a petition [signed by 112 Members of Knesset] which is still sitting on some official's desk at the Knesset in Jerusalem. The petition was never delivered to Bush. That's first point.
Secondly, think for a moment! Jonathan's release was secured at Wye in 1998 in return for the release of 750 Palestinian murderers with Jewish blood on their hands. It was the first time Israel ever freed Palestinian terrorists and murderers with blood on their hands. This was the price to secure Jonathan's release. We have already paid the price in full! The murderers have been free since 1998. We do not have to negotiate again to buy the release of a captive for whom we have already paid the full price. We simply have to collect on it, and bring him home.
We have, by the way, an excellent contact in Washington, someone close to the President. He tells us that to this very day, Ehud Olmert is not interested in Pollard's release; he is not serious; he is simply doing PR [for the Israeli public]. He has never brought up the issue with Bush in a serious way. Just PR. So we know with certainty that there is nothing going on
It does not take 22 years to secure the release of one single captive, who is being held by our closest and best ally; especially a captive for whom we have already paid the full price; and especially after that captive has served 22 years in prison for an offense that has a median sentence of 2 to 4 years!
Radio Kol Chai: Esther, tell me, after 22 years, today a little while ago, you spoke with Jonathan, the Israeli public would like to know a little more about what you can talk about after 22 years, a couple so close, so devoted and yet still after 22 years...
Esther Pollard: To tell you the truth, I updated him on a lot of things. I always have a list of things to update him. At the bottom of my list, I told him about the ridiculous and lying article by Itamar Eichner. And by the way, if Eichner had any interest in putting out the truth, instead of advancing the government's lies, he would have called me for a reaction. He always calls me when there are "developments." But he was not interested in hearing my response.
The thing that made Jonathan the happiest during our conversation, which really delighted him, was the news that Beit Yehonatan* - the [formerly illegal] building not far from the old city, in the Shiluach, has finally been approved by the city.
Radio Kol Chai: Listen, you know that all of us really hope and pray and want to see Jonathan returned home, whole and healthy, and we thank you that you were willing to come on the air and speak about these things. I hope that the next time we interview and soon, will be when Jonathan will be home!
Esther Pollard: Amain! And we want to thank you [Radio Kol Chai] for always being willing to broadcast the truth, instead of recycling government lies.
Radio Kol Chai: Thank you Mrs. Pollard!
The history of Beit Yehonatan is explained in the article On Pollard's 7,998th Day in Prison, "His" Jerusalem Building Okayed. The building does not belong to Jonathan Pollard. It is only named in his honor.
Click here to listen to the original interview in Hebrew.