Jonathan Pollard Is Denied Parole, but Why?

After decades of refusing to do so, Jonathan Pollard applied for parole after his lawyers were encouraged by broad hints dropped by President Obama. Details of the parole hearing, which took place several months ago, only recently became public. The proceedings, writes Gil Hoffman, give further credence to the claim that Pollard is being kept by the U.S. as a bargaining chip, to be used for obtaining concessions from Israel. Hoffman writes:

[A]ll hopes that the hearing would be fair were dashed immediately. The government’s representatives spoke menacingly, treated Pollard with contempt, prevented [his attorney] from making his case, and made it clear that the Israeli agent would not see the Jewish state any time soon, if ever. Those present described the hearing as a “kangaroo court” and even “a lynching.”

The rejection letter that the parole commission sent Pollard in August, which the Jerusalem Post exclusively obtained, was also harsh in tone. . . . The commission wrote that ahead of the 30th anniversary of Pollard’s incarceration, it would conduct another review of the case in February 2015 and another parole hearing five months later. But when asked whether the government would once again oppose Pollard’s parole next July, a commission official replied, “Absolutely, vigorously”—indicating that it would be no different from the hearing that had just concluded.

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More about: Barack Obama, Intelligence, Jonathan Pollard, US-Israel relations

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship