In November 1985, the FBI arrested Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, on charges of selling classified material to Israel. Pollard was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. His wife, Anne, got five years in jail for assisting her husband.
Immediately upon Pollard’s arrest, Israel apologized and explained that the operation was unauthorized. "It is Israel’s policy to refrain from any intelligence activity related to the United States," an official government statement declared, "in view of the close and special relationship of friendship" between two countries. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres stated: "Spying on the United States stands in total contradiction to our policy."
In November 1995, Israel granted Jonathan Pollard Israeli citizenship. This publicly signalled to the US, Israel’s willingness to accept full responsibility for Pollard.
On May 12, 1998, Israel formally acknowledged Jonathan Pollard was an official Israeli agent. This fact wiped out any remaining doubt about Jonathan Pollard’s motives. Being an official agent is, by definition, the polar opposite of being a mercenary. In the same May 12, 1998 statement, the Government of Israel publicly acknowledged full responsibility for Jonathan Pollard, and indicated its commitment to his immediate repatriation to Israel.
Four Prime Ministers of Israel and three Presidents of Israel have all personally requested Jonathan Pollard’s release from the President of the US. Each one pledged to be personally responsible for their agent who has now served more than 17 years in prison under harsh conditions, and who has fully expressed his remorse.
Israel has officially acknowledged for the first time that an American Jew, Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in the United States 13 years ago, was one of its spies reported BBC on 12th May, 1998. Pollard, a former intelligence analyst for the United States navy, is serving a life sentence in North Carolina for passing classified military documents to Israel.
Until now, the Israeli authorities had always denied that Pollard was working under their direction. The admission came in a statement from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office, and acknowledged that he was handled by high-ranking officials in a scientific relations bureau.
"In light of this fact, the State of Israel acknowledges its obligation to Mr Pollard and is ready to accept full responsibility accordingly,’ the statement said. It said that Pollard had agreed to drop a petition pending in Israel’s Supreme Court asking for a formal recognition that he was indeed an agent in exchange for the announcement. "I am relieved, thankful, and honoured," Pollard’s wife Esther told the Associated Press news agency by telephone from her home in Toronto, Canada.
The admission came on the eve of a visit by Mr Netanyahu to the United States to meet Jewish leaders and the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Last month, Israeli media reported that a government committee set up by Mr Netanyahu was working out a plan to recognise Pollard as a spy and work for his release. Several government ministers have visited Pollard in jail this past year, raising speculation that the government was taking his case more seriously.
Pollard has been granted Israeli citizenship and his lawyer believes the public acknowledgment will help chances for a pardon. In November 1985, while on the run from the US authorities, Pollard sought refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, but was refused entry.
Mrs Pollard has said the information her husband gave Israel over a decade ago was about the build-up of arms in neighbouring countries that some American officials did not want Israel to have.
The recent Dubai assassination of Hamas leader in January 2010, when British, Irish, French, Australian, and other countries passports were used for this terrorism on foreign soil clearly shows: (1) sign of arrogance (2) no respect for international law (3) Jewish and friends of Israel in the high places in Europe and US for example French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Foreign Minister David Miliband, President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and others would cool down the whole saga while media is already under control and managed.
British media was busy apologetically clarifying in the highest tone that Israeli ambassador is invited by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and not summoned. Is British sovereignty so fragile and weak in front of a tiny country? Then story was dumped in alleged bullying of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. That was Gordon’s Browning session?
Apart from all the institutional controls of the US institutions by pro Israel individuals and groups there must something ‘really big’ which stopping all US administrations to release Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard. What is it?
Dr Shahid Qureshi is an award wining investigative journalist based in London.