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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bill Clinton admits he 'considered' releasing Pollard at Wye

Former US President Bill Clinton has admitted for the first time that Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the 1998 Wye River Conference thinking he had Jonathan Pollard's release in hand, and that Clinton did consider releasing Pollard.
Former US president Bill Clinton said in a recent conversation with a prominent US Jewish leader that when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to the Wye River Plantation talks in 1998 with Yasser Arafat, he thought that he would return to Israel with Jonathan Pollard, according to Israeli diplomatic sources.

According to these sources, this is the first time Clinton has acknowledged that Netanyahu went to the talks thinking he had Pollard’s freedom in hand.

In the end, a deal to release Pollard as part of the agreements with Arafat was scuttled when then-CIA director George Tenet threatened to resign if the deal went through.

...

Among the US officials Barak was scheduled to meet in Washington on Monday was Dennis Ross, who dealt at some length in his memoir The Missing Peace with how the Pollard issue played out during the Wye talks. In that book Ross, who was the US Middle East envoy at the time, wrote that Clinton considered releasing Pollard to try to ensure that an Israeli-PA deal would be sealed.

In the end, Ross wrote, he himself advised Clinton against going ahead with the release when Netanyahu said he would not sign the Wye deal without Pollard’s release.

“Did you make a commitment to release Pollard?” Ross quoted himself as asking Clinton in the book. “If you did, you have to release him.”

According to Ross, “The president swore he had made no promises; he’s said he would see what he could do, but he had made no promises.

I then said, ‘If you did not make a promise to him, you should not give in to this.’” Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday denied reports that Pollard has been placed into settlement construction moratorium equation, with one official saying the report was “not accurate.”
I suspect that Clinton did make a commitment and then weaseled out of it by reinterpreting his own words. Ask Monica Lewinsky about how Clinton did things like that.

UPDATE 6:46 PM

Received via email from a reader:
I have spoken to a source who is 100% reliable who was present at Wye. My source told me that Clinton unequivocally promised to release Pollard and only after the signing reneged.
That's what I recall hearing as well. I guess it depends on the definition of "is."

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