Netanyahu blunders as he vows to free Pollard

Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu promised in a videotaped message posted on his blog over the weekend that if he is elected prime minister he will bring about the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from a US prison. Netanyahu said when he was prime minister he had granted Pollard citizenship and recognized him as an Israeli agent, while previous governments had wronged him. However, Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu made a mistake when he said he had granted Pollard citizenship. Former interior minister Haim Ramon made the move when Shimon Peres was prime minister, Channel 10 said. Netanyahu's blog was later corrected. Netanyahu also recalled visiting Pollard after leaving the premiership. "I decided [after the visit] that if I ever returned to the job, I will do whatever necessary to get him out," he said on his Web site. Netanyahu's comments came in response to a posting on his blog from a reader who protested his "silence" on the Pollard issue. Netanyahu recently claimed, incorrectly, that slain tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi had served in his cabinet and that he remembered living in the British Mandate, which ended before he was born. A spokesman for Netanyahu said the former prime minister did more for Pollard than his predecessors by recognizing him as an Israeli agent and acknowledging Israel's responsibility for his fate.