Netanyahu Reveals Clinton Double-Cross On Pollard Release

by Shimon Shiffer
Yediot Ahronot 18 June 1999
Translated by Dr. Aaron Lerner (IMRA)

Netanyahu plans in the book he is currently writing to publish several details that will considerably embarrass the president of the United States. In one of the chapters Clinton will earn the title 'International Swindler'.

And this is the story. In September '98, Yom Kippur Eve, Clinton and Netanyahu met for a conversation in the White House, during the course of which Netanyahu agreed to attend the conference at Wye Plantation with Yasser Arafat on condition that Clinton would act to immediately release the spy Jonathan Pollard. Clinton, according to Netanyahu and his closest advisors, agreed to the condition. Netanyahu explained to him that this gesture would help him to get the support from his constituents for the painful part of the agreement he expected to sign - continuation of the withdrawal from the territories. "Bibi went to Wye knowing that Clinton would immediately release Pollard with the signing of the agreement with the Palestinians," the advisors of the departing prime minister said this week.

During the course of the Wye summit the matter of Pollard was discussed several times between Clinton and Netanyahu. There were only a few in on the great secret: ministers Sharon, Mordechai and Sharansky.

At the end of the conference, at 5:00 AM, after arrangements had already been made for the signing ceremony, Clinton put his hand on Netanyahu's shoulder and asked him to step aside with him so he could tell him a few things. One of those present in the room saw Clinton and Netanyahu as they spoke from a distance. "Netanyahu turned pale, and Clinton hugged him," the man said this week.

When Netanyahu returned to the center of the room, he told his advisors and ministers that Clinton had announced to him that he could not honor his promise to release Pollard. "We were shocked," said one of them. "We thought that Bibi should go back to Clinton and tell him: 'if that is the case then there is no agreement with the Palestinians. You lied to me.' Our problem was that we did not want to find ourselves again in the terrible situation that both in Israel and the world Netanyahu would be presented as a liar, and would not talk at all about the real liar."

Foreign Minster Sharon, who was summoned to the room, was of the opinion that the agreement must not be signed. Minister Sharansky also said that the signing ceremony must be postponed. At the end, after Clinton promised to continue acting for the release of Pollard, the Israeli side folded. The signing ceremony was held with some delay, and Pollard remained in prison.

Netanyahu plans to reveal his full account in his book, in which Clinton will be presented as a scoundrel who did not intend, from the outset, to honor his part in the process that led to the Wye conference.

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