Eitan refuses to sign Pollard petition

Says discreet action is called for; Olmert to present document to Bush.

pollard passport 248.88 (photo credit: Brian Hendler)
pollard passport 248.88
(photo credit: Brian Hendler)
Pensioners Minister Rafi Eitan said on Tuesday that a discreet course of action was necessary to secure the release of Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned in the United States for selling US military secrets to Israel, and refused to sign a petition circulated among MKs demanding that Pollard be let out. NU-NRP MK Uri Ariel initiated the petition, which has thus far been signed by some 60 MKs from various factions. The document will be submitted to US President George W. Bush via Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who plans to visit Washington next week, Israel Radio reported. Two weeks ago, Jonathan and Esther Pollard charged in a petition to the High Court of Justice on Monday that Eitan is in possession of a secret document which could gain Pollard's release from prison were he to hand it over to the Americans. According to the petition, filed by attorneys Nitzana Darshan-Leitner and Larry Dub, the document includes a list of all the classified documents that Pollard handed over to Israel in 1984 and 1985. Darshan-Leitner and Dub called on the High Court of Justice to nullify the provision in the coalition agreement between Kadima and Gil according to which Eitan will serve as a cabinet minister. Eitan was in charge of a spy operation called Lekem, which enlisted Pollard, then working for the US Navy. Pollard provided information on the deployment of Arab military forces and many other classified information taken from US military intelligence. He was arrested by the FBI on November 21, 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment. 'Even today, Eitan refuses to help Pollard,' the lawyers wrote. 'For 21 years he has refused to hand over to the Americans or the proper authorities in the Israeli government a document that is in his sole possession and regarding which he holds the only copy, and which the prime minister could use to save Pollard.'