Saturday, April 15, 2006

Pollard for Barghouti?

[ UPDATE: Or perhaps not.

The US is now denying the report of the Pollard-Barghouti prison release deal. Most likely a proactive leak, to put out feelers. In any case, "US embassy spokesman Stewart Tuttle called the report "ridiculous speculation."

"As far as I know, it has no basis in reality," Tuttle said."

Well that settles that...for now.

Meanwhile, Pollard is also warning against appointing Rafi Eitan, his former Mossad mis-handler, as a minister in the new government. Eitan is chairman of the Gil Pensioners' Party, likely to be a coalition partner in Olmert's government.
Sources close to Jonathan Pollard - the Israeli agent imprisoned in the United States - warned on Friday that if Gil Pensioners' Party Chairman Rafi Eitan would be appointed a minister in Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government, Pollard would release classified information that could be harmful to Israel.

They claimed that the information would be detrimental to every former Israeli prime minister, including senior Kadima MK Shimon Peres, Channel 2 reported.


END UPDATE]

I hope not.
Officials in Jerusalem claimed on Saturday that the US would free imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israel releasing jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.


Okay, I certainly believe that Jonathan Pollard has already spent enough time in jail for his crimes, especially if what Rafi Eitan claims is true, that Soviet spy Aldrich Ames made use of Pollard's capture to turn him into a scapegoat to hide Ames' own activities.
The former agent [Rafi Eitan] says shortly after Pollard's trial ended, Israel discovered Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger sent a top secret memorandum to the judge, accusing Pollard of exposing 11 American agents.

"The information the charge was based on arrived from the CIA, and more accurately, from the counter-espionage branch of the CIA. Only years later it turned out the person who headed the branch and initiated the move against Pollard…was a person by the name of (Aldrich) Ames, who all those years was the top Soviet spy in the U.S.," Eitan says.

"He simply took advantage of the Pollard affair to cast the blame for the affair he (Ames) himself was guilty of on Pollard, thereby clearing himself of suspicion," Eitan says. "I have no doubt that had Pollard been tried today, in light of what is known about Ames and other agents who were exposed, he would have received a much lighter sentence."


But trading Pollard for mass murdering terrorist Marwan Barghouti? I'm leery.

Not sure I see an upside in that, even if the Israeli and/or US governments now believes this is a "good" way to go about strengthening Fatah against Hamas.

Remember when we spent all that time strengthening Iraq against Iran? And here we are mired in Iraq now. Or, for that matter, when Israel strengthened Hamas against Arafat's PLO? And here we are today with Hamas in office in Palestine.

Speaking of which fact, it turns out that the Palestinians are confused about how we can support the mechanics of a democratic vote in Palestine while refusing to finance that vote.
The most common claims - to the point of exhausting cliché - heard from PA officials are that the international community is failing to "respect the democratic choice made by the Palestinians" and that the cutting off of aid constitutes a "collective punishment" against all Palestinians.

“The Palestinian people should not be punished for their democratic choice,” PA leader Mahmoud Abbas lamented recently, adding that by suspending aid the United States and Europe were “punishing all the people, workers and families."

The world should "respect the choice of the Palestinian people," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh agreed, while also slamming foreign leaders for "punishing the Palestinian people."

By resorting to such arguments, however, the Palestinians are again demonstrating their failure to fully grasp the meaning of such terms as "respecting democracy" and "collective," a fact that has become evermore apparent while the PA has continuously made use of the same old rhetoric-of-whine it has become so well familiar with.

Had the Palestinians possessed a better understanding of "democracy" et al, they would realize that the world, led by the U.S. and Europe, has very much "respected" the Palestinian people's choice - and is now acting accordingly, in a way that may perhaps make Palestinians rethink this choice. Maybe.

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