A panel of three High Court justices on Monday unanimously rejected a petition by Jonathan Pollard calling for the dismissal of Pensioners Minister Rafi Eitan, who was in charge of the intelligence unit that handled him when he spied for Israel in the early 1980s.
Footage shows Pollard stealing files
"In their oral and written arguments, the petitioners made very harsh accusations about the way [Eitan] conducted himself in the Pollard affair," wrote Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. "These accusations were based upon press reports, a book that was published, and on many rumors and snatches of information that they collected from the media. The petitioners did not establish even a minimal amount of evidence to back their claims. These claims are based on alleged facts that have not received any official verification, and they involve matters that this court cannot investigate."
Beinisch also rejected the argument of Pollard's wife, Esther, who told the court during a hearing last week that Eitan's appointment to the cabinet would block any chance there might have been that the US administration would pardon him.
"This argument is not backed up by facts and, at any rate, involves the sphere of relations with the US," wrote Beinisch. "That is, it deals with relations with the US and therefore involves Israel's international affairs, a subject in which the court does not intervene."
In the petition, which was submitted on April 30, Pollard's lawyer, Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, charged that Eitan had refused to hand over to the US a document listing all the material that Pollard had given his Israeli handlers.
"Had Eitan handed over this document at any time during the past 21 years, the Americans would have closed the affair, knowing that Israel had returned all the material," wrote Darshan-Leitner.
She also charged that Eitan had refused to allow Pollard to escape from the US after the FBI began investigating him. Instead, he allegedly lied to Pollard, telling him to stall for time so that the Israelis involved in the affair could return to Israel to avoid arrest.
Eitan was in a charge of a spy unit called Lekem, which enlisted Pollard, who was then working for the US navy. Pollard provided information on the deployment of Arab military forces and other classified documents taken from US military intelligence. He was arrested by the FBI on November 21, 1985, and sentenced to life imprisonment.