A petition to President Barack Obama urging him to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard from federal prison won backing from every faction of the Knesset on Wednesday, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Almost all members of the Knesset signed the document at the close of a lengthy discussion of the Pollard issue on Wednesday, which has come to the fore once again in the wake of recent disclosures of American spying on Israeli leaders.
The petition will be sent to Obama via President Shimon Peres and to the U.S. Senate by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. A group of legislators will deliver it to U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.
The only Jewish MKs who did not sign deal regularly with the U.S.: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.
Netanyahu said he welcomed the effort, but reiterated his position that the Pollard issue is unconnected to the reports of American spying.
During the special Knesset session, Speaker Yuli Edelstein recalled visiting Pollard in 1998, when a U.S. senator told him that if Israel tried more seriously to explain why its agent should be released he would already be home.
“I hope we will see him free soon and we will no longer need such discussions in the Knesset,” Edelstein said. “As someone who has experienced what it is like to lack freedom, 28 years of prison is unfathomable for me.”
A second petition calling for Pollard’s release was put forward by Arab MKs, though theirs also cited Palestinians in Israeli prisons whom they say should be set free.
Gilad Shalit Asks U.S. to Save Pollard
Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and held prisoner in Gaza for 5 years, joined on Tuesday the mounting call on the U.S. government to release Jonathan Pollard. He made his appeal on behalf of Pollard in the following open letter:
An Open Letter by Gilad Shalit
I seek in this way to appeal to all of the People of Israel and especially to those who feel as I do that peace is a supreme value and that we must do everything in our power to achieve it.
Tonight (Monday, December 23), along with all of the People of Israel, I heard Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s appeal to the Americans to free Jonathan Pollard, who has been languishing in prison for 29 years.
After Israel has released terrorists with blood on their hands as a gesture to the Palestinians, a return gesture is all that is being requested.
I believe, and I think that like myself all of the People of Israel believe that the Prime Minister’s request for such a simple gesture, the release of Jonathan Pollard, is owed to us by right, and is not a favor.
Please, everyone, join me, in a clear demand to our friends, the Americans:
We have already freed scores of murderous terrorists with blood on their hands at your request — now it is your turn to make a gesture to us!
It may even save Pollard’s life.