The family of Jonathan Pollard is heavyhearted at the news that the US will not forgive and release him, even after the United States was caught spying on Israeli targets, the manager of the campaign to release Pollard said on Sunday in response to a New York Times article that claimed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was eavesdropping on Israeli military targets.
“Once again, it turns out that reality is not black or white,” said Effie Lahav, head of the campaign for Pollard’s release, noting that staff and family members are closely following the reports from the United States.
In light of the publication in the American newspaper, Lahav said that “calls by US officials for the release of Pollard for considerations of justice are now being reinforced, but all we want is to see him alive, so we ask for compassion. The report increased the family’s expectation that the serious considerations in favor of his release will now receive renewed attention.”
Lahav further commented on The New York Times story regarding the United States’ friendly spying on Israel, saying: “We and the family believe that even if there are differences between the situations, in the end what everyone sees is that even great friends can make mistakes on the issue of spying with good intentions. This understanding must be taken into account when talking about Pollard.”
In some three weeks, Jonathan Pollard is to begin his 29th year in American prison. “Esther and Jonathan are going through some very difficult days,” Lahav said. “In the last year alone, Jonathan was hospitalized five times, and in some of the cases, there was real danger to his life. He is very weak and it is clear to us all the next hospitalization is just a matter of time.”
Pollard himself has not yet been updated on the new report regarding NSA surveillance of Israeli military targets. However, Lahav said, “From conversations with Esther after previous revelations about the friendly spying of the US, we know that despite his many years in prison, there is no gloating . He understands that he broke the law and expressed full regret. He will soon turn 60 and all he wants is to be given the opportunity to rebuild the ruins of his life in the time that he has left to live.”
The campaign for Pollard’s release is getting many calls from American and Israeli citizens who hope that the recent reports of the eavesdropping affairs will lead US President Barack Obama to show more compassion for Pollard.
According to Lahav, “Over the years there were quite a few people who were convicted in the US of spying for a friendly country, but none of them have served even half the time that Jonathan has been sitting in prison. We are feeling encouraged by the fact that there are those in the US who are calling for reconsideration of the strict attitude towards Pollard.”
Lahav expressed hope that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres will raise the issue of Pollard during their expected meeting this week with US Secretary of State John Kerry. “How can it be conceivable to solve complicated issues of supreme importance if previously it was not possible to solve a humanitarian problem that is so simple?” wondered Lahav. “I suggest that all of us stop and think about the significance of 29 years. It is incomprehensible.”