Terror victims' families to Obama: Free Pollard

After protesting a possible deal that included the Israeli spy's release alongside that of Palestinian prisoners, bereaved families ask US president to free Pollard.

Akiva Novick - Ynet News - April 6, 2014

After protesting against a possible package deal in which Israel would release over 400 Palestinian prisoners and the US would release Jonathan Pollard, terror victims' families are now asking President Barack Obama to free the Israeli spy.

"Mr. President, with a broken heart, we are turning to you and asking you - please release Pollard, in the name of justice, compassion and humanity," the families wrote in a letter to President Obama sent on Saturday.

As part of the efforts to reconcile a recent crisis in peace talks, that started when Israel postponed - and later cancelled - the release of the last group of Palestinian prisoners, and escalated further when the Palestinians asked to join 15 UN agencies, a package deal was offered to keep the two sides at the negotiating table.

Israel reportedly offered to free 420 prisoners that it would choose and impose a partial freeze on settlement construction. To sweeten the deal, the United States reportedly offered to free Pollard. Neither report was confirmed by any of the sides.

"If all the requests and considerations weren't enough, please do this as a gesture to us, families who lost those most dear to them, and who were forced to see the murderers of their precious ones freed - so that the end of the Pollard tragedy will offer them at least a tiny sliver of consolation," they concluded

Now that the deal has been taken off the table, and Israel cancelled the fourth and final prisoner release, the bereaved families decided to turn to the American president in a plea to free Pollard, an American who has been jailed nearly 30 years ago for spying on his country for Israel.

"We are bereaved families whose loved ones were killed and maimed by Palestinian terrorists who were freed from Israeli prisons because of pressure by the American government which hoped to further peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," the families, members of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, wrote.

"Mr. President, we hope you can find time during your pressing schedule to think about the very trying times we have suffered over the past months, fearing that the killers who murdered our loved ones would go free and become heroes of terror," they went on to say, lamenting the celebrations that accompanied each of the three prisoner releases.

The criticized the move to free the prisoners, saying they "never could justify their release as a bargaining chip to sustain peace negotiations, something which has no moral or legal credence."

The news of Pollard's possible release, they wrote, "was heartening to all the people of Israel, and to us, that something positive might come out of our suffering."

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