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>JN Dec. 12. 1997, Vol. 5, No. 227
Knesset Calls for Pollard's Release
By IINS News Service
After serving 12 years in US maximum-security facilities for spying
for Israel, Jonathan Pollard has succeeded in unifying the Knesset,
which made a public appeal for his release,.
Deputy Defence Minister Silvan Shalom said that too little had been
done on Pollard's behalf over the past 12 years, and behind the
scenes efforts to have him freed had not been successful. Now,
Silvan stated, the time was right to speak openly and call for US
Authorities to pardon Pollard.
Minister of Absorption Yuli Edelstein, who recently became the
first minister ever to have visited Pollard, said he was hopeful
that Pollard would join him in celebrating Israel's 50th
Since Edelstein visited Pollard in his South Carolina prison cell,
interest in his plight has been renewed. Next week, Communications
Minister Limor Livnat is planning to visit him during her trip to
A former US Navy analyst, Pollard, 43, is serving a life sentence
for passing US military secrets to Israel. Israeli leaders over the
years have denied he was a sanctioned agent.
President Bill Clinton rejected a clemency plea by Pollard in 1996,
citing the enormity of his crime, his lack of remorse and the
damage he caused to US security. Pollard's supporters have retorted
that he gave Israel critical information the US should not have
been withholding from an ally, and have pointed to other men
convicted in the US for spying for enemy nations, who have received
considerably lighter sentences.
Israel Plans to Give PA 10-13 Percent of Land
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Senior ministers met again Thursday to try to finalize Israel's
position for the next -- and final -- round of talks with the
Palestinians, a decision which will help determine how much Israel
offers in its next West Bank withdrawal. That there are indications
Israel will offer more land than had been expected.
Israeli news reports say the ministers have agreed to hand over at
least 10 percent more of the West Bank to Palestinian control, and
perhaps as much as 13 percent. Israel's Defense Ministry denied
the 13 percent figure, but there was no denial of idea of more
than 10 percent. That is somewhat more than the 6-8 percent Israel
was said to be offering a week ago -- an amount Palestinian
officials rejected and US officials apparently also thought was
Still, there are other elements which could prevent the re-starting
of the peace process US mediators are trying to arrange, including
conditions Israel is placing on the next withdrawal. Israel says
it will make only one troop movement before the next round of talks
ends, instead of the three which have been promised. And Israel
says the troops will not move until the middle of next year, by
which time it wants the Palestinian Authority to crack down on
terror groups, extradite prisoners, and remove the PLO Charter's
call for Israel's destruction. Those would likely prove to be
difficult conditions to satisfy.
For the moment, Israel faces an informal deadline of next
Wednesday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet with
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Brussels. Albright has
urged a quick decision on a "credible" withdrawal. Israeli
officials say they will not be rushed into fateful decisions, and
that Netanyahu might not have a final plan ready when he meets with
Albright. But Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy, the most
liberal of the senior ministers drawing up the plan, says that
would be a mistake.
Levy told Israel Radio the government should not send Netanyahu to
next week's meeting with his hands tied because that would be
gambling dangerously with the future of Israel and risking its
friendship with the United States. The Cabinet is to discuss the
long and short-term plans the ministers are developing at its
regular meeting Sunday. But officials say more than one meeting
might be necessary to deal with the far-reaching program.
Meanwhile, Israel is on a special security alert because Thursday
was the 29th anniversary of the founding of the militant "Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine." The group, which rejects
the peace process, likes to carry out attacks on its anniversary.
Last year, it claimed responsibility for the drive-by killing of an
Israeli woman and her son on the West Bank. In addition, Sunday
will be the anniversary of the founding of the militant group
"Hamas," which has carried out many bombings against Israeli
targets in recent years. And this week Palestinians marked the
10th anniversary of the start of the "intifada," the uprising which
many credit with helping to force Israel into the peace process.
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