Making the Most of Sharon's Meeting with Bush - Pollard MUST be freed

Aaron Lerner - IMRA - March 13, 2001

If Prime Minister Sharon's recent televised statement regarding the importance of the release of Jonathan Pollard is to be taken seriously by the Americans, this must be the primary issue at the top of the Israeli agenda when Sharon meets with President Bush next week.

Why is this imperative? To counteract the damage done to Pollard by Sharon's advance team and by the deep involvement of the previous Israeli administration in the Marc Rich pardon.

Sharon's remarks on American television this weekend occurred against a backdrop of extreme damage done to Pollard's position in the United States by Sharon's advance team: Zalman Shoval, Moshe Arens and Dore Gold. The advance team broadcast a message of such complete indifference to the fate of the incarcerated Israeli agent that both the new American administration and the American Jewish leadership took note and avoided even mentioning Pollard's name when they met for the first time last week.

If Sharon's televised statement is not followed up by making Pollard a top priority issue when he meets with the President, the Americans will conclude that Sharon - like the last 4 Prime Ministers before him - is just "going through the motions" and that will be the final blow to any hope of relief for a seriously ailing Pollard.

High level meetings are anything but spontaneous. Representatives of both sides work out the agenda and talking points well in advance. Prime Minister Sharon told American viewers that he intends to ask President Bush to release Pollard and this must be expressed in the prepared agenda for the meeting.

Among the compelling factors that must be raised at this meeting are:


    provides a solid legal framework for President Bush to respond favorably to PM Sharon.


    Pollard has already served 16 years of a life sentence for an offense that usually carries a 2 to 4 year sentence.


    provides the impetus for the urgency of PM Sharon's request, lest a tragedy occur before Pollard's legal case wends its way through the courts.


    when President Clinton reneged on his commitment to free Jonathan Pollard as an integral part of the Wye accords, provides a compelling eyewitness account that a promise was made to Israel by the US that has yet to be fulfilled.

The new American administration must be helped to appreciate just how important the release of Jonathan Pollard is to the State of Israel in order to put to rest an affair that represents everything that was wrong in American-Israeli relations. As long as Pollard remains in an American prison this open wound will continue to fester and impair American-Israel relations and cooperation.

Israel has a moral and legal obligation - long overdue - to secure the release of its agent, Jonathan Pollard. It must emphasize to the US the importance it places on gaining Pollard's freedom NOW. The only way to do that is to place Pollard at the top of the agenda for the March 20, 2001 meeting between Sharon and Bush. After 16 years of doing hard time on behalf of Israel, that is the least that the State can do for Jonathan Pollard.

See Also:
  • Jonathan Pollard Statement Re Bush-Sharon Meeting
  • Sharon to Ask Bush to Release Pollard
  • Sharon to Ask Bush to Pardon Pollard
  • Pollard Not on Jewish Leaders Agenda