President Shimon Peres
has decided to dedicate the remaining few months of presidency to one goal: The release of the Israeli-American spy Jonathan Pollard.
Peres, who is expected to leave the presidential office this coming July, committed Thursday to increase the pressure on US President Barak Obama, in order to convince him to release the spy who has been imprisoned for close to 29 years.
In closed conversations Peres said that just as in Israel
it is customary to commute sentences, it is not unreasonable that Pollard, even if he committed a serious offense, should be granted clemency.
The president also responded to a request from the Knesset, agreeing to relay to Obama a letter signed by 106 MKs – with the request to free Pollard.
In the letter, the MKs noted that senior American officials who served in previous US administrations (and have first hand knowledge of the case) have expressed their support for Pollard's release.
The letter states: "Pollard committed serious crimes, which he and the State of Israel have apologized for. (…) Along with this, the great amount of time that has passed since then, today compels the release of Pollard. This gesture is necessary for Israeli-US relations at this time. "
Meanwhile, MKs Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi)
and Nachman Shai (Labor),who
head the Knesset Lobby for the Release of Pollard, met yesterday with the US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and presented to him the letter signed by the MKs.
Itamar Eichner and Yuval Karni are Yedioth Ahronoth reporters