Israeli media is abuzz after the New York Daily News published an editorial Sunday, echoing calls from the Jewish state to lift restrictions on the parole of newly-released captive Jonathan Pollard.
The editorial, titled ‘Let Pollard Go,’ argued that Washington’s point over three consecutive decades – that espionage will be dealt with unremittingly – has already been made, after each US President since 1985 rejected a very public campaign to reduce Pollard’s sentence.
“Now, Pollard has been released on parole, to live under supervision for five years even though the Department of Justice acknowledges he is no longer a threat to anyone,” the author argues, noting that the White House’s attitude “smack[s] of personal petulance.”
“While paroled inmates ordinarily are barred from leaving the country, Pollard is no ordinary offender,” the author continues. “In Israel he’s viewed as a friend who enhanced the security of the Jewish state and paid dearly for it.”
Calling US President Barack Obama’s attitude toward the Pollard affair – which he has attempted to use as a bargaining chip, but only when it is clearly to push his own agenda in the Middle East – “insulting bureaucratic diffidence,” the NYDN contrasts Pollard’s release with the case of Rene Gonzalez, a Cuban spy who was released early, escaped to Cuba during his parole, and then was allowed to stay as part of the US’s improving relationship with Cuba.
Pollard was released Friday. As one of the conditions of his release, a parole officer was assigned to him by the US Department of Justice, and will inspect to make sure the 61-year-old stays within all of the limitations placed on him. Any excursion beyond the immediate area of his residence will require the approval of the probation officer.
He will likewise be forbidden from flying to Israel – and will even be forbidden from checking the internet.