Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why was the Pollard clemency bid dismissed?‏

Perhaps it was to avoid the kind of controversy that Bill Clinton created with a flurry of tainted pardons on his last day in office. Or perhaps for "legacy" purposes, so Bush might continue his reputation as a president who is very sparing with his power of clemency. So rather than pick and chose which high profile petitions to grant, Bush simply dismissed them all.

While this may sound even-handed, it is not if you consider that most of the other high profile petitions for pardons came from people who are not even in prison! Some never served any time, or they did time years ago and now they seek a pardon simply to restore some of their civil rights. Others have yet to stand trial, but hope to pre-empt a sentence by having a pardon wipe out their crime. Few petitioners are actually in prison and they are serving relatively short sentences.

Only Jonathan is in his 24th year of a life sentence for an offense that has a median sentence of 2 to 4 years.

When President Bush chose to ignore Pollard's petition along with all of the other petitions filed by those who are not prison nor in peril, he effectively compounded the injustice.

If the Government of Israel had weighed in on Jonathan's behalf with President Bush in a meaningful way, perhaps the end result might have been different. But that was not the case. Even after 24 years, the abandonment and betrayal of an agent in peril continues. Olmert, Livni, Barak and the whole gang remain devoted to those operations that will secure their own seats of power, and have little concern for the average Israeli, let alone concern for captives like Pollard or Shalit.

Israeli President Peres received pleas both publicly and privately for his intervention on behalf of Pollard. He managed to deflect them all.

So what next?

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