Israeli Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu will not take a letter to the US administration asking for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, Army Radio reported. The letter, addressed to President Barack Obama, was signed by 109 out of 120 MKs, including Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
Netanyahu was scheduled to leave for a five-day visit to the US on Shabbos. He is expected to meet with Vice President Joe Biden today in New Orleans and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday in New York.
Obama will be in Asia during the visit.
The letter came after former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, Lawrence Korb, said last week that Pollard was unjustly given a life sentence and should be granted clemency by the Obama administration.
In the letter, the MKs addressed the fact that Biden recently questioned Pollard’s life sentence.
“In light of recent discoveries, there is no doubt that the US vice president will agree that the idea of leaving Pollard in jail is no longer rational and that this idea is not worthy of an enlightened, democratic nation.”
The following is the text of the letter:
Sunday, 31 October 2010
Dear Mr President,
Mr Barak Obama,
In just a few days we will mark the completion of the 25th year of the imprisonment of the Israeli agent, Jonathan Pollard, who is in an American prison. For a long time, there are, in the United States, people raising their voices for Pollard’s release in light of the overwhelming disproportion between the punishment for those who have already served sentences for spying for allies (on average 2-4 years) and Pollard‘s sentence. As we reach 25 years since Pollards arrest, dozens of congressmen joined this call by signing a letter calling you to cut his sentence, as well as intellectuals, security personnel and governance.
As you know, the State of Israel has accepted full responsibility for the actions of Pollard and apologized for them. Even senior members of your government, vice president Mr. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and your assistant Mr. Dennis Ross have previously expressed their agreement to the claim Pollard should be freed after serving more than enough time in prison for the
offence he was convicted of.
In this context, we feel a deep obligation to note that many citizens of Israel feel an obvious discrimination between Pollard and the punishment of others accused of spying in the U.S. This feeling clouds the important and stable US- Israel friendship and the Israeli public wish with all their hearts to remove it.
In addition to all this, Pollard’s health condition has deteriorated and he is in a very real danger. There is no doubt that 25 years in prison is enough to justify reducing the sentence and releasing him immediately. But beyond all this, there is the recently published and remarkable testimony of former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Lawrence Korb. As you may know, besides the explicit call for Pollard’s release, he revealed that Pollard’s harsh sentence and unprecedented life verdict was due to false accusations and false information that is clearly now not true.
Mr. President, it is acceptable and understandable that countries dispute, and it is no secret that there are some differences now, but there will probably never be a dispute that a person should not be held unnecessary jail even for a second, on charges when he didn’t commit the acts!
We are writing on behalf of the Israeli public, as well as on behalf of any person seeking justice and with a conscience. Please, answer positively to the request to cut short Pollard’s sentence and let him reunite with his wife and son, and spend the rest of his days as a free man after undoubtedly serving his debt to the American society.
There is no doubt that this step will be a badge of honor that represents the United States as a liberal democratic nation and prove that the values of justice and equality before the law are higher values to which the U.S. adheres to, and displays to the world.
The Knesset Members