Pollard Disappointed by Sharon Meeting with Bush

Aaron Lerner - IMRA - March 21, 2001

"Instead of bringing Jonathan home, the Prime Minister
left Washington with a dinner menu."
- Esther Pollard

While an Israel Radio report last night indicated that Prime Minister Sharon asked President Bush at their White House meeting to release Jonathan Pollard, more detailed reports appearing in today's Jerusalem Post and elsewhere do not indicate that a direct request for Pollard's immediate release was made.

The Jerusalem Post reported this morning: "Sharon said he did raise the issue of convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli MIAs from the Sultan Yakoub battle, downed IAF navigator Ron Arad, and the three soldiers and one civilian kidnapped in October by Hizbullah."

While the rescue of Israel's MIA's is of paramount importance, their fate is in the hands of their captors and Bush can only act to try to influence them. In sharp contrast, Pollard's freedom is subject to the full and exclusive discretion of President George W. Bush. By lumping Jonathan Pollard in with the MIA's, PM Sharon signaled to the Americans that Israel does not expect an immediate resolution of the Pollard case.

The fact that there are no media reports of any kind of response from Bush on a request for Pollard's release tends to confirm that Sharon's mention of Pollard was simply one of a list of items mentioned in passing rather than an issue deserving immediate and serious consideration. It would appear that the Prime Minister mentioned his concern for Jonathan Pollard merely to satisfy appearances.

In a recent statement to IMRA, Jonathan Pollard likened himself to a soldier bleeding to death in full view of the nation, and appealed to Prime Minister Sharon to make the case for his release. Pollard indicated to IMRA this morning that he is bitterly disappointed.

Pollard's wife, Esther, told IMRA, "PM Sharon is in a unique position. He has all the factors in place that no other prime minister of Israel ever had to secure Jonathan's immediate release - moral, legal, humanitarian, and an actual commitment made at Wye between the 2 nations - yet he failed to make a serious request."

Mrs. Pollard added, "My husband is an Israeli agent in peril who has given the last 16 years of his life for Israel. Instead of bringing Jonathan home, the Prime Minister left Washington with a dinner menu."

Prime Minister Sharon, it is reported, took the dinner menu from the White House as a souvenir.

See Also:
  • Jerusalem Post Radio Interview with Esther Pollard
  • Jonathan Pollard Statement Re Bush-Sharon Meeting
  • Wye Page
  • MK Naveh Challenges Barak's Claims About Pardon Involvement