IMRA Weekly Commentary: Pollard acceptance of risk for freedom corners Netanyahu

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA - December 9, 2010

This Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser unwittingly said something very important about Israel's handling of the Pollard affair in his testimony before the Knesset State Control Committee.

In response to numerous calls by the attending MK's for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to formally request now that the United States free Jonathan Pollard, Hauser confirmed that no Israeli Government has ever made an official request for Pollard's release.

And here is the bombshell: Hauser related that the entrenched government position never to formally request Pollard's release for over a quarter of a century has been solely out of some concern that submitting such a request might jeopardize efforts to gain his release.

Hauser suggested that if the MKs who are pressing for a formal Israeli request for Pollard's release had access to classified information that could not discussed in open committee that they would understand why such a move might hurt Jonathan Pollard's prospects of being freed.

That's right.

The concern, according to Hauser, of generations of Israeli governments, was not that formally asking for the release of Jonathan Pollard might somehow have an unfavorable impact on Israeli interests, but instead what could, at best, be termed a paternalistic attitude: that they know how best to gain Pollard's freedom and that actually requesting it isn't the right path.

Mind boggling.

For over 25 years Israeli governments have failed to free Pollard with whatever they may ostensibly have been doing informally behind closed doors and yet they have the gall to act as if they have a monopoly on wisdom when it comes to how to handle the matter.

Hauser's revelation is important because it makes clear that there is only one person in the world who would bear the risk of negative consequences should Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formally request Jonathan Pollard's release: Jonathan Pollard himself.

Jonathan Pollard is not a minor.

Jonathan Pollard is compos mentis, able to make his own decisions

And this week Jonathan Pollard reiterated that he is willing to bear the risks of whatever negative ramifications may result from Israel submitting a formal request for his release.

Pollard's statement, combined with Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser's testimony, strips away any possible justification for not immediately formally requesting Pollard's release.

In recent days Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to act quickly and decisively when he saw fit.

Now, before time runs out for Pollard, is the time for Mr. Netanyahu to openly, formally request Pollard's freedom.

The writer, Dr. Aaron Lerner is Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis).