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July 31, 2013

United States Presses Israel to Release Murderers but won’t release Pollard

By Alan M. Dershowitz – The Jerusalem Post – July 30, 2013

The Israeli cabinet took a courageous and politically unpopular step by
approving the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners, including many
terrorists who had murdered Israeli babies, women, the elderly and other
civilians. According to Israeli intelligence some of these released
murderers are likely to rejoin terrorist organizations and may kill again.
Relatives and friends of the victims have protested the decision to release
these killers. Yet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his
cabinet withstood these pressures and ordered their release.

The United States government had pressured the Israeli government to release
these prisoners because the Palestinian Authority had made their release a
condition to resuming peace talks. The Israeli government, which had agreed
to peace talks with no preconditions, submitted to the Palestinian
precondition, and talks are now likely to go forward.

Prime Minister Netanyahu had reportedly asked the Obama Administration to
make it easier for him to release Palestinian murderers by releasing
Jonathan Pollard, who has already served 28 years for spying for Israel. No
American in history has ever come close to serving that long—indeed none has
ever served a double digit sentence—for spying for an American ally.
Moreover, there were grave doubts about the lawfulness of Pollard’s
sentence, as evidenced by the strong words of the dissenting judge who
characterized the government’s breach of the plea agreement as a
“fundamental miscarriage of justice requiring relief…”

But the Obama Administration slammed the door in Netanyahu’s face by
categorically rejecting the request to commute Pollard’s sentence to the
excessive term he has already served. Despite this rebuff from the Obama
Administration, Netanyahu agreed to release the prisoners. Now the
Palestinian Authority is asking for more prisoners to be released including
some of the most dangerous terrorists on the face of the earth. The United
States will probably continue to put pressure on Israel to risk the lives of
its own civilians by releasing more Palestinian terrorists in order to get
the Palestinians to continue to negotiate.

The time has come—indeed it is well passed—for the United States to do the
right thing with regard to Jonathan Pollard. Pollard poses no continuing
danger to America, since he has not had access to our secrets for nearly 30
years. Unlike the Palestinian prisoners who are to be released, he has
expressed regret over his actions and has sought forgiveness. Moreover, his
life sentence is excessive by any standard of justice and it violated the
government’s plea bargain which promised, in exchange for Pollard’s guilty
plea, not to seek life imprisonment.

Peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires the active involvement of
the United States, as evidenced by Secretary John Kerry’s intensive efforts
to bring the parties together. But if peace is in our national interest, as
the Obama Administration insists it is, and if peace requires sacrifice by
both Israel and the Palestinians, then we too must be willing to give a
little. Releasing Jonathan Pollard after requiring him to serve 27 years,
some in solitary confinement, is not much of a sacrifice to ask of the
United States. It is the least we can do to make it easier for Israel to
make far greater sacrifices and take far more dangerous risks in order to
secure peace.

The request to release Pollard now has bipartisan support in the United
States and multi-partisan support in Israel. Knesset members on all sides
of the Israeli political spectrum have called for Pollard’s release as a way
of encouraging the peace process. “It’s a window of opportunity of good
will to Israeli, who are not going through an easy time,” said Labor MK
Nachman Shai. “It would build up public support for negotiations and show
that the US also understands the gravity of this historic moment.”

American political leaders from both sides of the aisle, as well as from all
religious backgrounds, have called for Pollard’s release on compassionate
grounds, based on the length of his sentence and his deteriorating physical

Israel will go forward with negotiations regardless of whether Pollard is
released, because the Israeli government wants a peaceful resolution that
assures security. But in the end the Israeli public will have to vote for
any deal struck between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, with the help
of American negotiators. The outcome of any such referendum will depend on
whether Israeli voters believe that their security has been assured and that
the United States continues to stand behind them. Releasing Jonathan
Pollard—as a gesture of good will, as a show of American support, and in the
interests of justice and compassion—will go a long way toward encouraging
the Israeli public to vote in favor of a peace agreement that requires great
sacrifices on their part.

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[J4JP Disclaimer: Recirculation of this article should not be construed as
an endorsement, in whole or in part, of the author’s statements regarding
the current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, being led by
the US. J4JP categorically rejects all American efforts aimed at exploiting
the plight of Jonathan Pollard for use as a bargaining chip against Israel.
The US is obliged to release Pollard as a matter of simple justice. We
appreciate the author’s strong, clear statements about the injustice of
Jonathan Pollard’s sentence and his encouraging President Obama to do the
right thing by commuting Jonathan Pollard’s grossly disproportionate
sentence to time served. ]

Posted by Ted Belman @ 5:20 am | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to United States Presses Israel to Release Murderers but won’t release Pollard

  1. Yidvocate says:

    Our best friend and greatest supporter in the world community today and always, has imprisoned one of our faithful sons and has and continues to impose punishment on him far in access of that meted out to their worst enemies under much more egregious circumstances than that perpetrated by our faithful son.

    This friend demands of us to do in far more extreme terms what he would never undertake for himself and when we politely point out that he should perhaps reciprocate in kind and only to a small fraction of what he demands of us (1:104), he flatly refuses and persists in his demand.

    And all we can say is “yes sir and thank you”.

    We are discussing and well deserve the derision and disgust of the world community.

    Really we have no enemies but ourselves if only we could come to see this inescapable reality.

  2. M Devolin says:

    “…because the Israeli government wants a peaceful resolution that
    assures security”

    What the hell is Dershowitz talking about?! Releasing terrorists from prison and into the civilian population (an exaggerated term in regards to the Palestinian Muslim) does not assure security. Leave it to Dershowitz to come out with such an asinine and politically infused statement.

  3. Bert says:

    Jewish leaders, including Netanyahu, are mostly betrayers of our Jewish heritage. Obama’s refusal,after Netanyahu asked for Pollard’s release, is pure anti Israel spite. Netanyahu could have gone public and asked Obama a question. Is punishing Pollard more important to you than peace – because without Pollard there will be NO negotiations’. All prior reasons to refuse release have now been eliminated except one – i.e. Obama himself as being obstinate and spiteful. Netanyahu again shows how spineless he is and that Israeli security is in very weak hands.

  4. yamit82 says:

    Painful Concessions and American Jews

    A group of prominent American Jews released a letter last week, calling on painful compromises for peace. The sacrifices they envisioned potentially include hundreds of thousands of Jews leaving their homes and livelihoods behind, being uprooted and relocated, all for the sake of a Jewish majority in Israel. Similarly, in April 100 prominent American Jews signed a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu also calling for the proverbial “painful sacrifices” for peace. Apparently, such painful concession letters have become a trend.


    At the very least, one would wonder why signatories of such letters, concerned as they are about Israel’s demographics, do not as actively promote aliyah as they do expulsion.

    Nearly 1,000 kids making aliyah in 2013

    Nefesh B’Nefesh flight from North America brings 106 children with their parents to Israel this week

  5. yamit82 says:

    Another comment in moderation!!1

  6. rongrand says:

    @ yamit82:

    Uncle did you ever keep track of the number of times your comments were in moderation?

    If in fact you did or can review them just maybe you will be able to determine what the common denominator is triggering the moderation.

    It’s 7:50 AM – Good morning Ayn wherever you are.

  7. BethesdaDog says:

    Pollard was sentenced to life, a disproportionate sentence, by an anti-semitic judge, the late Aubrey Robinson. Pollard’s lawyers have had almost no real access to a memorandum provided to the judge in an ex parte fashion by the government. This has truly been a great travesty, a horrible anti-semitic injustice.

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