Esther Pollard Reacts To Government Reply

March 1, 1998 - IMRA - Dr. Aaron Lerner

IMRA: You have just received a copy of the Israeli government's reply to the Supreme Court regarding your husband's petition that Israel recognize that he was an Israeli agent. Let's go through the government's reply:

The first claim of the government is that since the last hearing there were meetings between the representative of Jonathan Pollard and the Deputy Director for Special Services in the Ministry of Defense in which matters which could help Jonathan's future were discussed.

Pollard: During the entire 60 day delay the government showed a complete lack of serious intent and absolutely no honest initiative.

There were exactly 2 meetings. These were housekeeping type introductory meetings. The government canceled the rest of the meetings and did not respond to phone calls or faxes and was generally evasive.

IMRA: The response goes on to state that in light of the importance of the matter and the many government offices involved, it was found that an interministerial committee should be set up headed by a senior government official. The Prime Minister recently appointed the Cabinet Secretary to head the committee "to handle the matters of the petitioner."

Pollard: This is imaginative nonsense. It is another stalling tactic. An empty gesture.

This is committee number three. This committee, like its predecessors, is nothing but a smoke screen. Eventually the smoke clears and Jonathan is still in prison.

Please note that it did not take a committee to free the Masha'al Affair agents or the Swiss Affair agent.

IMRA: The reply notes that the Minister of Communications and Minister of Absorption visited Jonathan in prison - the first ministerial visits to Pollard since his imprisonment. The Attorney General also discussed Pollard's case when he met with the American Justice Secretary.

Pollard: The two trips of ministers were not government initiatives. I also note that the Minister of Communication's visit was marred by criticism of the visit from Israel's Foreign Ministry. And this was followed by the very public cancellation of Treasury Minister Ne'eman's visit - a move which was very damaging, especially when you consider that Ne'eman found the time to meet many others during his visit to America. As for the Rubenstein visit, it was a self-serving sham. Rubenstein used Jonathan's name as a "sweetener" in the Israeli press when he met with Reno about the murderer Sheinbeim, not about Pollard. This hurt Jonathan rather than helped him.

IMRA: The Government also raises the Prime Minister's claim that his government's policy is to act for Pollard.

Pollard: The Government of Israel hasn't launched even the most simple initiative. Israel has not made it clear to its friends and supporters in America that it considers the release of Pollard to be an Israeli priority.

IMRA: The Israeli Government concludes that, in light of the information which they presented, the case should be postponed to enable the team which was appointed, along with others in the government, to complete studying all the matters relating to Pollard.

Pollard: This is a farce and a sham. This conclusion has nothing to do with the rest of the Israeli Government's arguments. Moreover, the entire response does not address a single point in our petition to the Supreme Court.

IMRA: What did Jonathan tell you as to his expectations about tomorrow's hearing in light of the Government's response?

Pollard: I spoke with Jonathan on the phone and he told me that: 'In the best case scenario, the Supreme Court will live up to its highest ideals and we will learn about the integrity of the Supreme Court.

In the worse case scenario, the Supreme Court will live down to our lowest expectations, sacrificing truth for political expedience, and in that case as well we will be learning about the integrity of the Supreme Court.

In either case, what we, the People of Israel, will be learning about is the integrity of the Supreme Court. We all know the truth. Now we wait to see how the Supreme Court will deal with it.'

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director - IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)

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