Danon told several news sources that to the best of his knowledge, Obama will hear “clear statements” on the matter of Pollard from Netanyahu and Peres, when he visits – and from MK Danon himself.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and MK Danon see the upcoming visit to Israel by President Obama as an opportunity to secure Pollard’s release.
They have contacted members of the U.S. Congress and Knesset to join the initiative and sign a joint plea for Pollard’s pardon, to be handed to Obama upon his arrival.
“We are making the plea on behalf of most of Israel’s citizens, who are saying ‘enough.’ Have mercy and let him go home,” Danon said.
“Obama intends to come here in order to make a plea directly to the hearts of Israel’s citizens,” he added, “and I hope he understands that the path to the Israelis’ heart goes through the release of Pollard.”
MK Danon said that while he understands that the subject is a highly charged one, it is clear from statements by U.S. security experts and former senior officials that Pollard is serving a much harsher sentence than would have been meted out to any other person who had committed similar offenses – or even much worse offenses.
On Tuesday, February 26, Peres met with over 200 high school students from Sdot Negev, where he was asked by one of the pupils about the possibility of Pollard’s release.
“I will do everything in my power to convey a clear message that Jonathan Pollard must have his sentence commuted on humanitarian grounds, just as I, as president, act to commute sentences on humanitarian grounds,” Peres responded.
Meanwhile, over 63,000 Israelis have already singed a Free Pollard petition. The appeal was started by the Justice for Jonathan Pollard group, which launched a new campaign calling on US President Barack Obama to free the jailed spy. The organization plans to present the American president with the petition during his March visit to Israel.
“We appeal to you as one who symbolizes the shared values of humanity, compassion and hope for a second chance, that both of our nations embrace,” the petition states. “We implore you to commute Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served without delay and allow him to live out his remaining days as a free man.”
It is our fervent hope and prayer that your upcoming trip to Israel will bring us the good news we have waited for, for so very long, and that this tragic and painful episode can finally be put to rest once and for all,” it adds.
Pollard, 58, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for allegedly supplying Israel with classified information. In recent years, his failing health has amped the organization’s efforts to see to his release.
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