Barak Demands The Release of Pollard and Azzam

Yediot Achronot - July 22, 2000 - (translated from Hebrew)
Smadar Perry - Arab affairs correspondent

DISCLAIMER:This news report should not be construed as an endorsement by Justice4JP of the developments that are reported. See:Justice4JP's Position on Pollard & Camp David.

The London-based Arabic daily, Al-Hayat, revealed yesterday that Israel has asked theAmericans to include the release of two Israeli spies, Jonathan Pollard in the US and Azzam Azzam in Egypt, as part of a deal with the Palestinians.

According to the newspaper, the Israeli demand is that the two would go free within the framework of any peace agreement which may be achieved at Camp David.

A diplomatic source told the paper that it was Prime Minister Ehud Barak himself who asked Clinton for their release. According to the source, Barak expects this gesture within the framework of Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.

Arab diplomats stressed that Barak has explained to Arafat and President Clinton that the release of Azzam Azzam would ease the the release of the Palestinian prisoners.

A senior (Israeli) security official yesterday told Yediot Achronot: "Whether Azzam Azzam is released or not, one fact must be made clear in an unequivocal way: Azzam Azzam is not a spy, and he was not run by any Israeli intelligence agency."

It was noted (by the above official) that in contacts between Barak and Clinton prior to the Camp David Summit, Clinton promised to release Pollard in return for the release of all of the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in the framework of a final arrangement.

(Justice4JP: This is approximately 1,800 prisoners, including those associated with organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, that remain steadfastly opposed to the Arab-Israeli peace process.)

As for the release of Azzam Azzam, the Americans promised to work on the issue with Egypt.

See Also:
  • Is Pollard a Camp David Bargaining Chip?