Jonathan Pollard 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Knesset’s State Control committee will convene on Monday to deliberate on
whether the government has done enough to bring about the release of Israeli spy
Jonathan Pollard, who has served more than 25 years of a life sentence for
passing information to an ally.
RELATED:Former US Senate intelligence chief: Free PollardOpinion: Why Obama should commute Pollard’s sentence
Committee chairman Yoel Hasson (Kadima)
decided to convene the committee after a wave of calls for Pollard’s release and
following new revelations of apparent government malfeasance made public by
senior officials with first-hand involvement in the case – former minister Rafi
Eitan and former US assistant secretary of defense, Lawrence J.
Hasson summoned cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser and other officials
from the Prime Minister’s Office to the meeting along with representatives from
the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, and State Comptroller’s Office It was
unclear on Wednesday whether Pollard’s wife, Esther, would be asked to testify
to the committee about the condition of her husband, who is in poor health and
was hospitalized this week.
Opposition MKs intend to use the forum to
attack Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for not doing enough to persuade US
President Barack Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence to time
Netanyahu refused to give Vice President Joe Biden a letter
signed by faction heads representing 109 MKs when he met with him last
National Union MK Uri Ariel, who heads the Knesset caucus for
Pollard, began efforts on Wednesday to draft the support of 40 MKs that is
necessary to initiate a special session of the Knesset in which Netanyahu is
required to participate.
It could be a challenge for Ariel to obtain
enough signatures, because coalition MKs are reluctant to sign petitions that
could embarrass the prime minister, and out of the 46 opposition MKs, 11
represent Arab parties. Kadima MKs may decide not to sign the petition because
they want the special sessions with Netanyahu to focus on issues they see as
more controversial and more problematic for Netanyahu.
The first MKs who
signed the petition were the four National Union MKs and Kadima’s Marina
Solodkin and Hasson.
Solodkin said she has been a member of the Knesset’s
caucus for Pollard for 15 years and that she was willing to march from Jerusalem
to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to push for Pollard’s release.
there was at least as much of an effort for Pollard as there is for Gilad
Schalit,” Solodkin said referring to the IDF soldier kidnapped by Hamas in 2006.
“I would join every initiative on his behalf. He is an Israeli citizen
and a future immigrant, and we must do everything possible Israeli migrating
birds end to allow him to come home.”