Friday, May 25, 2007

Israel's Pollard Guillt

Excerpted from Yossi Melman's piece:-

Surrendering its honor

Any self-respecting country would have summoned the U.S. ambassador to the Foreign Ministry and demanded that he clarify his harsh statement that the fact that Jonathan Pollard, an American citizen sentenced to life for spying for Israel, has not been executed should be seen as an act of clemency.

But Israel is a country that has long ago stopped respecting its own sovereignty, given up its independence of thought and subordinated its will to that of Washington. Israel refuses to respond to Syria's offer of negotiations for fear of incurring the wrath of the American administration...

...The Israeli government does not just have a moral responsibility for the fate of its agent. It also contributed significantly to the fact that he's rotting in prison. It began with the hasty decision of Elyakim Rubinstein - then the political attache at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and now a Supreme Court justice - to remove Pollard from the embassy grounds, where he was seeking asylum. He could have been brought in, as the Americans held Soviet citizens in their embassy in Moscow when they sought political asylum...Even after Pollard was handed over in such a shameful way and arrested, Israel could still have helped get him a lighter sentence - for instance, by setting it as a condition for Israeli participation in the investigation. Israel unconditionally provided the United States with the thousands of documents it received from him, thereby helping to incriminate him, without receiving anything in exchange. Even later, Israeli leaders and heads of the intelligence community did not really go out of their way to lobby the American government institutions and intelligence agencies for a pardon for Pollard.

The only one who almost achieved this was Benjamin Netanyahu, during his tenure as prime minister...

...But Pollard is the only one to whom the Americans are so hostile.

...Nonetheless, it's difficult to accept or understand the American lust for revenge when it comes to Pollard. There's something irrational about it. Jones' remarks were rude and bereft of diplomatic tact, reflecting this American pathology that aspires to keep Pollard from ever being pardoned. Even though Jones has apologized, he deserves to be denounced. By essentially ignoring his comments, Israel is adding insult to the injury it has already done Pollard.

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