State Control Committee asks Lindenstrauss Opinion on Pollard

Esther Pollard: Jonathan has served more than 5 times the usual sentence for his offense.

Dan Izenberg - The Jerusalem Post [Print Edition] - January 1, 2008

"This is the time to act toward Jonathan Pollard's release from prison, not to investigate why he has not been released until now," Pollard's wife Esther said Monday in response to the Knesset State Control Committee's decision to ask State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to investigate the affair.

Pollard was arrested in 1985 by US authorities and sentenced to

life imprisonment

for revealing classified documents to Israel while serving as a Navy employee.

"Jonathan has served more than 5 times the usual sentence for the offense he committed, including 7 years in solitary confinement," said his wife in a statement issued by Justice for Jonathan Pollard group.

"With the visit of President George Bush to Israel next week, now is the right moment to obtain his release. The time to save Jonathan's life is now. To bring him home safe and sound. When Jonathan is home and out of harm's way, there will be ample time to investigate."

Monday morning the Knesset State Control Committee asked Lindenstrauss to investigate why Israel had failed to gain Pollard's release since his arrest. "After 22 years in which an Israeli citizen and agent has been rotting in an American prison it is only right to see where we failed and what steps the government has to take to obtain his release," said the committee's chairman MK Zevulun Orlev (NU NRP). Orlev said that both he and Lindenstrauss had received requests to investigate the matter. Pollard had written to the State Comptroller several times, Lindenstrauss added.

Before asking the State Comptroller to prepare an opinion on the matter, Orlev continued, he consulted with the former and current cabinet secretaries and the officials in charge of security at the Defense Ministry, Yechiel Horev and his successor Amir Kain.

MK Uri Ariel (NU NRP), head of the Knesset caucus on behalf of Pollard charged that when Ariel Sharon served as Prime Minister he had been given a petition signed by 112 of the 120 MKs to be presented to the US President asking for Pollard's release. When Sharon returned from the trip and was asked about the petition, he said he had forgotten it at home. "Is this doing all you can for Pollard?" asked Ariel.

Although many of the committee members said that they did not doubt the Government had tried its best to gain Pollard's release, they voted in favor of asking the State Comptroller to prepare an opinion on the matter.

J4J Note:

The above article appeared in the print edition of the Jerusalem Post (Jan.8, 2008). It did not, unfortunately, appear in the online edition where the damage was done yesterday. Unlike the previous online article, the article above includes the Pollards' reaction to this development, and it changes the quote attributed to MK Uri Ariel, head of the Knesset Lobby. The quote attributed to MK Ariel which appeared online yesterday in which MK Ariel was alleged to have credited the Government with doing all it can to secure Jonathan's release was not only untrue, but also very damaging both to MK Ariel and to the cause. MK Ariel has requested a correction and the inclusion of the above article in the online edition of the Jerusalem Post.

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