MKs urge Romney to support clemency for Pollard
By GIL HOFFMAN The Jerusalem Post 07/30/2012 21:28
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office delivered a letter from Knesset
faction heads to presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
on Monday, urging him to support clemency for Israeli agent Jonathan
The heads of every non-Arab Knesset faction from Meretz to the National
Union, representing 109 MKs, signed the letter. A similar letter was
delivered to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton two weeks ago.
“We, the heads of the Knesset factions, the elected representatives of the
citizens of Israel, want to bring a deeply painful issue to your attention,
the plight of Jonathan Pollard,” the MKs wrote. “It is not disputed that
Jonathan Pollard broke the law and he deserved to be punished.
Nevertheless, the citizens of Israel are united in their request for his
immediate release on humanitarian grounds. He has served nearly 27 years in
prison and his health has deteriorated to a point that is life-threatening.”
The letter pointed out that Pollard is the only person in the history of the
US to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally. It noted that
the maximum punishment ever meted out for that offense was 14 years.
“The citizens of Israel have great difficulty in accepting this fact,
especially in light of the special, warm relationship between our
countries,” the MKs wrote. “Many Israelis have verbalized their concern
thus: ‘How can it be that Pollard serves the same sentence that is meted out
only to those who have spied for the very worst of America’s enemies?’” The
MKs urged Romney to follow in the footsteps of current and former senior
American officials who have endorsed Pollard’s release.
Unlike Clinton, Romney did not make any public statements about Pollard on
his Israel visit. The matter was raised in his private meetings.
In his only public comments about Pollard so far, Romney told the Conference
of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in December that he was
“open to examining” the case.
The Knesset State Control Committee will convene Tuesday to monitor the
government’s efforts to bring about Pollard’s release.
The Prime Minister’s Office told committee chairman Uri Ariel (National
Union) that despite his requests, it would not send representatives to the