Peres to discuss Pollard with Obama during visit
By GREER FAY CASHMAN The Jerusalem Post
President Shimon Peres will raise the issue of releasing convicted spy
Jonathan Pollard from an American prison on humanitarian grounds when he
meets with US President Barack Obama, during the latter’s planned visit to
Israel next month.
Peres, toward the conclusion of a tour of the Sdot Negev Regional Council on
Tuesday, met with 200 local high school students and was asked by pupils
during the meeting about the possibility of securing Pollard’s release.
Peres replied that just as he has raised the Pollard issue with Obama during
previous meetings, he will do so again.
“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,” said Peres.
A petition calling for Pollard’s release has so far been signed by close to
Peres also answered questions about the rocket that hit Ashkelon earlier
that day and the simmering unrest in the West Bank.
“Quiet will be met with quiet,” he said, “and missiles will be met with an
The Palestinians have an interest in maintaining quiet, said Peres, noting
that without quiet, they endanger the development of their civil life and
The president said he had no desire to be a prophet of doom, nor was he
inclined to respond to rumors, and said he would not say more on the subject
before receiving a detailed report from security authorities.
While inspecting the local greenhouse on the Tekuma moshav, Peres commended
the farmers for their stoicism under fire and their ability to produce
excellent yields despite the security situation. Peres also joined the 30
farmers – who are developing new strains of produce – in harvesting
tomatoes, and was pleasantly surprised when one of them, Zion Cohen, said
they decided to name a tomato after him.
Peres said that regardless of the security situation, he could see that
crops were flourishing, due in no small measure to agro-tech which he
believed could help the rest of the Middle East, and ultimately other parts
of the world, to find a way out of poverty and starvation.