Israel the unprincipled entity
I remember standing outside the White House lawn on 26 March 1979, protesting against the signing of the Camp David accord between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the ex-wanted terrorist- turned-Israeli-Prime-Minister Menachem Begin. An Egyptian speaker addressed his president across the street: “If you feel no shame then do as you wish.”
Today, the “feel no shame” Israeli leaders are able to do as they wish with unparalleled brazen impunity.
US Secretary of State John Kerry offered Israel an upfront Palestinian commitment to forgo their rights to join UN organizations for nine months. In turn, Israel pledged to release 104 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
The Palestinians kept their word and delivered, Israel reneged. In a last-minute manoeuvre it added a new condition. Not on the Palestinians this time but on the US, demanding the release of Jewish American spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard.
In addition to torpedoing the peace process, Israel’s balking at fulfilling its part under the US-mediated understanding undermines American credibility as an impartial peace broker and its international standing.
Adding the release of the Jewish spy to an existing agreement was another act of chicanery pulled from Israel’s magician’s box of tricks to derail the peace process. Just like the invented “new” recognition of Israel as a Jews-only state, or the continued expropriation of land for Jewish squatters, or leaving the Israeli army inside the “independent” Palestinian state.
According to retired US Navy lawyer Spike Bowman, a senior legal advisor to Navy intelligence when [Jonathan] Pollard, was caught, “no other spy in the history of the United States stole so many secrets, so highly classified, in such a short period of time.”
While Kerry would refuse to admit, it was all predictable. Last December, Israel’s Channel 2 revealed that Binjamin Netanyahu will insist on releasing Pollard before endorsing a “framework agreement” or freeing the last batch of Palestinian prisoners.
But why didn’t Netanyahu demand releasing Pollard as part of the understanding last July? He knew that he would be in a better position to blackmail the US at the 11th hour.
In 1998, Netanyahu did exactly that when he asked President Bill Clinton to release Pollard before agreeing to sign the Wye River memorandum. The receptive Clinton had to back down after his CIA director, George Tenet, threatened to resign.
Pollard compromised US security like no other. According to retired US Navy lawyer Spike Bowman, a senior legal advisor to Navy intelligence when Pollard, was caught, “no other spy in the history of the United States stole so many secrets, so highly classified, in such a short period of time.”
To make matters worse, Israeli officials lied to their teeth denying any high level knowledge of the spying operation.
In response to Ronald Reagan’s demand that Israel hold accountable Pollard’s Israeli handlers, Abba Eban, the chairman of the Israeli parliament’s Intelligence committee, conducted a sham investigation in 1987 which claimed that there was not “a single shred of evidence” to blame any of Israel’s senior leaders.
According to US intelligence officials, Pollard passed information on US intelligence collection in the Soviet Union – resulting in the arrest of American spies – which Israel traded with the Soviet Union to allow more Soviet Jews to immigrate.
Palestinian prisoners and peace are used as pawns sadly because US political leaders lack the resolve to tell Israel that Pollard was a citizen who damaged US security and must pay for his crimes, just like every other spy – Jewish or not.
The spineless US political leadership accepted Israeli’s phoney investigation– wanting us to believe that only a low level staffer negotiated with Soviet leaders to increase Jewish immigration.
Palestinian prisoners and peace are used as pawns sadly because US political leaders lack the resolve to tell Israel that Pollard was a citizen who damaged US security and must pay for his crimes, just like every other spy – Jewish or not. Frankly, Pollard should rot in prison, not just for being a traitor but for causing others to rot in Soviet gulags.
Israel denied that Pollard was an Israeli spy for 10 years. But since 1998 – after initial the American anger cooled off – it adopted Pollard, granted him Israeli citizenship and named a park in his honour.
Israel is an unprincipled and habitually dishonest political entity. It cannot be trusted with agreements, and it betrays its benefactors.