Former ambassador to Washington Itamar Rabinovich tell Israel Radio that 25 years later, U.S. is still using Pollard to punish Israel.
United States officials suspect that Jonathan Pollard was not the only Israeli spy operating on U.S. grounds, former Israeli ambassador to Washington Itamar Rabinovich said on Monday in an interview with Israel Radio.
Rabinovich, Israeli envoy to Washington from 1993 to 1996, said that officials in the U.S. intelligence community believe that Israel still conceals the full extent of its espionage activity on American soil.
Speaking of his encounters with American officials, Rabinovich said that he “heard the claim concerning the enormous damage done to the Americans, but there is also a hidden one, which is not voiced openly, but is implied.”
“They suspect that he wasn’t the only one, that there were additional Pollards, and that Israel, despite its promises, did not reveal all the cards in this case and in similar cases,” Rabinovich added.
When asked, the former ambassador said he doubts Israeli spies operate in the U.S. today.
According to Rabinovich, the U.S. is “punishing Israel at Jonathan Pollard’s expense. They are angry with Israel more than with Pollard.”
Jonathan Pollard used to work as a civilian analyst for Navy intelligence. In 1987 he received a life sentence after he was convicted of spying for Israel.
In 1995 Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship, but it was only in 1998 that Israel finally admitted it paid him in exchange for classified information.
On Wednesday, President Shimon Peres will be awarded the United State’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
In a petition sent to Peres prior his departure, The Committee to Free Pollard asked the Israeli president to demand Pollard’s release. According to the group, some 70,000 people signed the letter, among them authors Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, Nobel Prize winners Daniel Shechtman and Yisrael Uman, and former Israeli president Yizhak Navon.
The committee said that Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier, who was kidnapped and held for over five years by Hamas in Gaza, who was released in October, also joined the call for Pollards release.
On visit to Washington, Peres to present Obama with signed petition for Jonathan Pollard’s release
Israeli President to be awarded the Medal of Freedom by U.S. President; intends to discuss fate of convicted Israeli spy and nuclear talks with Iran.
Israel President Shimon Peres began on Monday a four day visit in Washington during which he will be awarded the Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama and meet administration officials.
Equipped with a signed petition calling for the release of Israeli convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, Peres said the matter will be discussed with Obama in private.
Peres arrived at Blair House, the U.S. president’s official guest house, at 1:30 P.M. local time.
Upon arrival, Peres told reporters that he is honored by the fact Obama chose to award him the medal. “I see it as an exceptional tribute; there are over 200 countries around the world, he could have chosen any one of 200. The fact Israel was chosen is truly remarkable.”
Peres added that Obama’s decision indicates that “despite all that is said, the relations (between Israel and the U.S.) are deep, both historically and in the present,” and that even though Israel and the rest of the world don’t always see eye to eye on a number of issues, the “deep friendship” between Israel and the U.S. has been maintained.
“The Israeli president also has the authority to grant a pardon, (so) I am familiar with the complexity of granting an amnesty,” Peres said. “There are considerations beyond (the legal process) and I will explain it to the president.”
Peres said nevertheless that he is aware Obama has other considerations, saying he will “be focusing on the humanitarian issue.”
The Israeli president also commented on the anti-Semitic graffiti discovered at the entrance of Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center, saying it “is one of the most horrific acts possible.”
At least 10 slogans were found on Monday morning on the walls outside the museum, such as: “Hitler, thank you for the Holocaust”, “If Hitler did not exist, the Zionists would have invented him”, and “Zionists! You declared war on Hitler in the name of the Jewish people, you brought upon the Holocaust.”
“Are we acting like the ones who tried to annihilate us?” Peres asked, and continued: “The whole nation should stand as one against this act.”
On Iran, Peres said that while Western powers are preparing for another round of talks over its nuclear program, the Islamic Republic doesn’t seem to be very “flexible.” He did not specify what he intends to tell the U.S. president.
Later on Monday, Peres is scheduled to meet Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. On Tuesday, Peres will attend a special sitting with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.
On Wednesday, a few hours before being awarded the Medal of Freedom, Peres will meet Obama in the White House. Peres’ family will attend the medal awarding ceremony.