Skip to comments.US considers exchanging Jewish spy for jailed Fatah leader
Posted on 12/06/2005 1:49:57 PM PST by SJackson
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By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and Reuters
Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who swept to victory in a Palestinian parliamentary primary election in Ramallah, could be pardoned in the future if Israel reached a final peace agreement with the Palestinians and all terrorism ceased, cabinet minister Meir Sheetrit of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Kadima faction said Sunday.
Barghouti, who headed the Fatah Tanzim militia, was a driving force in both Palestinian uprisings. He is serving five life terms in prison for involvement in deadly terror attacks on Israelis.
On Friday, primaries were held to select Fatah candidates for the Palestinian Legislative Council in five of the largest West Bank districts - Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, Jenin and Tubas. Winners of the primaries will appear on ballots for Palestinian parliamentary elections to be held at the end of January.
Despite, or in part because of, his imprisonment, Barghouti had a very strong showing in the West Bank town of Ramallah, winning some 34,000 votes out of the 40,000 eligible Fatah voters.
President Moshe Katsav Sunday dismissed speculation of a pardon in the works for Barghouti.
"The institution of clemency was intended to lighten punishment for humanitarian reasons, and not for diplomatic or political purposes," Katsav told Army Radio.
"If there are reasons of mercy, I will give the issue consideration, but as for political reasons - just because won in the polling booth, this is no grounds for a pardon."
But Sheetrit said a pardon could be granted in the future, depending on diplomatic and security factors. Referring to comments by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom that Barghouti would never br released from prison, Sheetrit said:
"Under present circumstances, with his having been responsible for terror and a civilian court having convicted him, I don't see a possibility of his being released soon. However, as they say in politics, 'Never say never.'
"I believe that if a permanent peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians, and if terror in the region ceases totally, and there is absolute calm and peace in the region, we can, of course, discuss [a pardon].
Sheetrit, a former justice minister, said he was well-acquainted with Barghouti. "Before the present intifada, he supported peace very strongly, and struggled for democracy in the Palestinian Authority, and was really a very positive man until entangled himself in terrorism, and, in the intifada, made the mistake of his life."
"You can grant a pardon if you think that it is appropriate. In order that such a pardon should be granted, the conditions must be created for such a pardon. To my regret, I do not yet see those conditions."
Beilin: Gov't should ask to pardon him Yossi Beilin, chairman of the dovish Meretz-Yahad party, said Saturday that the election results underscored Barghouti's leadership potential and that it was time for Israel to release him.
"I think today there is no doubt that he is one of the top leaders in the Palestinian street," Beilin said.
Beilin said Barghouti made a terrible mistake in participating in the uprising, but "today he can be a moderating and positive influence. Therefore I think it would be right for the government to ask the President to pardon him."
A senior Israeli official criticized Beilin's remarks. "Why release him? Because he won the primaries?" he said. He also criticized Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom "for hurriedly responding that Barghouti would never be released."
Over the past few months there have been rumors that the U.S. administration would lead a move for Barghouti's release, in return for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from a U.S. prison. Israeli diplomatic and security officials have denied these rumors.
Barghouti's wife, Fadwa, said her husband's strong showing is a message to Israel that "Marwan is not a terrorist, he is a leader of his people and his people will not abandon him."
Barghouti, 46, a charismatic grassroots leader, is seen as a potential future successor to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, were Barghouti to be released from prison. He is an icon of the younger generation of Palestinian leaders, who grew up in the Palestinian territories.
Many "old guard" candidates spent years in exile with Arafat prior to a 1993 deal with Israel which allowed them to return.
"The old guard has failed politically and administratively, and in running their organization in a democratic way," said Palestinian analyst Hani al-Masri. "It's time to go home."
The Barghouti-led "young guard" had long pushed for a greater say, especially after last year's death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who founded Fatah and controlled it four decades.
Altogether, around 1,000 people are competing for 132 places on the Fatah list ahead of Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January.
The new parliament will have 132 seats, up from 88 in the current legislature. Polls indicate that Fatah will remain the strongest political force, but that Hamas will come in a close second in its first major test at the polls.
Ramallah election official Jamal Muheisen told Reuters that Barghouti was the clear leader in the early stages of the count with some 8,500 votes, although 40 more polling stations in the Ramallah district had still to declare their results.
"Until now it appears that the younger generation is leading in the vote but we have not finished the counting yet," Muheisen said.
Hamas is campaigning on a platform of clean government and claims credit for Israel's Gaza pullout this summer, saying its attacks pushed Israel out.
Some 463,000 Palestinians registered for the Fatah primary. In all, 463 candidates competed in the West Bank and 311 in Gaza to get on the Fatah parliament list.
Abbas will put together the final list from a pool of the top vote-getters. However, he'll consider twice as many people as districts have seats, allowing him to choose from a larger group and giving him considerable say.
Two fugitives from Fatah's violent offshoot, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, also secured high positions. The Jenin winner, Jamal Abu Rob, who gave himself the nickname "Hitler," is wanted for killing several suspected informers with Israel. The Nablus candidate, Jamal Jumaa, is a leader of Al Aqsa in the West Bank's largest city.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and virtually all other members of Fatah's ruling body, the Central Committee, did not compete. Sakher Habash, a Central Committee member who did run, won only about 2,000 votes in Ramallah.
The primary was to have been held in 16 voting districts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, the voting was delayed in many areas, with activists complaining of dubious registrations practices and threats by gunmen.
The Fatah primary vote was open to party members and supporters. An election official said that the turnout had been around 60 percent.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Meretz/Yahad, a potential coalition partner for PM Sharon, has called for the release of jailed terrorist Marwan Barghouti. Foreign Minister Shalom vowed Barghouti would stay in jail.
Barghouti won a landslide victory Friday in Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority's Fatah Party primaries, taking 96% of the votes. Fatah voters in five major Arab towns - Shechem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin and Tubas - chose candidates to head the party's list in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections scheduled for January 25, 2006.
Barghouti is likely to lead the list of candidates for the ruling Fatah party, despite the fact that he is serving multiple life terms in an Israeli jail for murder and attempted murder.
"I think today there is no doubt that he is one of the top leaders in the Palestinian street," said Yossi Beilin, leader of the Meretz/Yahad party. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has stated that if his new Kadima party forms the next government, Meretez/Yahad is a likely coalition partner.
Beilin backed up his calls for releasing Barghouti by claiming it would help promote democracy in the PA. "Barghouti heads one of the Palestinian camps that do want peace," he said, "and so this is the moment to end his sentence... in preparation for an historical peace agreement with Israel."
Beilin further said, "Barghouti will be released anyway in some future deal, so why not do it now?"
Foreign Minister Shalom replied, "We must not forget that he is a cold-blooded murderer who was sentenced by the court to five life sentences." National Religious Party (NRP) Knesset Member Sha'ul Yahalom declared that freeing Barghouti would encourage terror.
The media frequently have reported there are secret plans to release Barghouti from prison. The Israeli Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot reported this past summer that a secret document has been prepared recommending Barghoutis release. Similar rumors often have been linked to the possibility of the United States' releasing Jonathan Pollard. Pollard has insisted he will not agree to leave jail as part of a deal to release Arab terrorists.
Media reports on Saturday quoted an unnamed senior government official as saying, "It is common that peace agreements are accompanied by the release of prisoners, but even then it is not certain that he would be released."
Other jailed convicted terrorists also won positions as candidates in the PA elections Friday. Running third behind Barghouti is a jailed Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist, and the Hamas terrorist organization stated that three of its members serving time in Israeli prisons also will run in the elections.
In Jenin, terrorist Jamal Abu Rob, who nicknamed himself "Hitler," won a high position on the slate of candidates, as did the head of Shechem's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
IsraelNationalNews' Baruch Gordon contributed to this story.
It's hard to imagine the US being interested in this. If we are, someone has to explain to me the sudden interest in establishing terrorist states in the middle east.
Sounds like a lose-lose proposition to me
It seems like a bad idea to create an equivalence between the two.
Exchange? I don't get it. What are we going to do with a Pali terrorist? Grant him US citizenship?
It is not in Israel's strategic interests to permit the release of a politically popular and charismatic terrorist.
It is not in the propaganda interests of that slippery weasel Pollard to juxtapose his name with Barghouti's in any deal - although ultimately I suspect he would do anything to anyone to secure release.
If an unprincipled f#%&er like Bill Clinton wouldn't release Jonathan Pollard, then he shouldn't ever be released, period. The stories about the "deal" that Clinton had made regarding Pollard's release were very intriguing -- in terms of what they said about Clinton and what they said about the Defense Department officials who were adamantly opposed to Pollard's release.
The idea is that he'd be free to serve in the palestinian government. How that's in US interests is beyond me. It's a clear danger to Israel as well, but Israel has a policy of releasing prisoners in similar exchanges.
No it can't be true. Or can it?
The horse of the US Adminstration in this race is M Abbas. If they think releasing Barghouti would aid Abbas in handling the extremists in Fatah and Hamas they really need some cerebral transplants at the State Dept.
Or haven't they noticed that there is an internal struggle within the Fatah movement? (Incompetence galore)
Anyway, could the President really afford to upset his core supporters yet again?
Here we go again - another back-door attempt to free that rat-bastard traitor Pollard.
So let's review the facts:
Basically, Pollard secretly installed a mole computer program into the US computer master database, that enabled his employers - that good American ally, Israel - to steal every single secret the US government ever had. He totally stabbed the US in the back in a way very few individuals have ever managed to do.
What he did was so serious that no less than four retired Navy admirals have gone before courts demanding that Pollard NEVER walk free again.
Considering what that creep Pollard did, they're right - he should rot in hell.
I never read anything about a mole computer program. Do you have a citation for this?
I doubt it, Israel has been adamently opposed to releasing Barghouti. The subject has been coming up for some time now. We may realize that Abbas isn't interested in exerting control, and that younger, more charasmatic terrorists may begin assuming power. But releasing one of the most popular from prison is a terrible idea. Imagine the message it sends. I doubt Pollard is important enough to Israel, he's not considered a true prisoner, to give in on this, though it could depend on what other pressure is brought to bear. And it would be popular in Israel.
From the stories I've read, and this isn't the first, it's a front door attempt. If true, undertaken by the administration, ours, in order to free Barghouti.
Yup, I'll have to look the book up, but I will find the relevant excerpt and post it soon - getting tired of all this constant crap pretending that Pollard only took a few pieces of paper or something. What he did was huge - and unforgivable.
OHHHHHHH HHHHHEEEELLLLLLL NNNNNOOOOOO!!!
...but it sure as h..l wouldn't be popular in the US.
About Abbas and the power struggle:
It will be very interesting to see what he does with the candidate lists.
"Basically, Pollard secretly installed a mole computer program into the US computer master database, that enabled his employers - that good American ally, Israel - to steal every single secret the US government ever had."
From my conversations with people in the defense biz, the biggest complaint is that information is almost completely inaccessible--this piece of information is in one computer, that piece is in another, and it's almost impossible to access both of them, or to get the information in a form that you can use in a timely manner.
So this claim doesn't sound credible.
Barghouti out of jail.
Substitute "some State Dept. officials" for "the U.S." and we may be on the trail.
A more equitable agreement: Shoot Pollard, hang Barghouti.
Pollard is a Great Hero to Isreal and Zionist around the world.
He did more damage to our security than anyone else who has ever walked this planet.
If he was not Jewish, he would be 6 feet under as we speak. Instead, he has a chance to live out rest of his life as a Hero.
All you can do is tip your hat to power of Jewish Lobby!
This would be stupid.
Nah. We can just let him off in Mexico and he can cross on over the border and get his 'guest terrorist' green card at the nearest Social Security office in any city. Then when that bunch of traitors in DC passes the 'guest worker'program, he can be given amnesty with the rest of the terrorists already in the country.
Stupid and insane.
Canuck, what is your motivation in creating your fabrications about why Pollard was jailed?
You don't execute spies in peacetime, because captured spies are pawns in the Great Game.
They are no longer of any worth as spies, but there are often folks attached to them in their home countries, with bad consciences, etc.
Pollard got a lot of information for Israel, Israel's admitted it, and there is an immoderate desire on the part of the Jewish state to get him out of the hole in which the Americans have sent him to rot.
He's of no greater danger to the US, and doesn't cost anything significant to us to just let him rot in a sunless cell until he dies.
On the other hand, if he can be traded for something valuable that Israel has that we want, well, then he's a bargaining chip that can be tossed out there.
Many Israelis have chosen to make him a national hero of Israel. Some American Jews agree. This is a vulnerability of Israel, and very probably it's the AMERICANS who are floating this idea, because the Israeli government probably correctly values Pollard as worthless, other than as a symbol. Jerusalem doesn't want to let the terrorist go.
But if the Israeli public understands that Pollard's calvary can finally end, in exchange for some bedouin who's just another terrorist anyway (and who can presumably be tracked once he's released), they may force their government's hand into making a deal that the government doesn't want to make.
Of course, the wisdom of the USA playing the Pollard chip in order to get a terrorist released is open to severe question. But that is quite independent of the actual game of the exchange.
It seems to me that the Americans are playing a tough came of poker here with the Israelis. The Americans want the more valuable man - the Palestinian is an active leader with a following, but Pollard's just an aging spy flunkie.
However, emotions in Israel and among many American Jews are such that, properly played, Pollard's emotional value is too great for his government to resist, and they have to give up a strategically dangerous person in exchange for an old, useless, middle aged prisoner.
And, of course, once the Palestinian is released, he won't be in custody anymore and can be quickly assassinated. Pollard could be easily assassinated too, but it's better, from the American perspective, that he be allowed to live in Israel as a permanent source of embarrassment to the Israeli government (whenever it is necessary to distance one's self from Israel, one can always refer to the Liberty Incident and to Pollard, the hateful ex-spy, openly and notoriously living in Israel).
It will be interesting to see if the Americans will succeed in getting the Pollard sympathy pressure so high that Israel will be forced to accede to a very unfavorable deal, essentially trading a used-up pawn for a Palestinian rook.
Also, it removes a source of tension in American-Israeli relations, since we will no longer be holding their spy in cruel conditions. But the fact of his espionage and hero's status in Israel will allow the US government to anger the American populace at Israel sufficiently, whenever necessary, to allow for policies that otherwise will pinch the Jewish state.
The ideal solution is to drug Bagoudi, implant a chip unbeknownst to him to be able to track him, trade for Pollard, let Bagoudi get out there and stir up the rabble, and then at an appropriate time when leaders are concentrated, send in Hellfires from a Predator drone. You let him go out and lead everyone straight into his lair.
Give us Bar Abbas
John 18:40 They shouted back, No, not him! Give us Barabbas! Now
Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.
Pollard saved lives. Iran's nuclear reactor was destroyed as a result of the information that Pollard shared. His act was a crucial positive for the free world.
By contrast, Barghouti is a terrorist leader. They are not equivalent. Pollard has served a longer term than any of those who have shared information with enemies of the U.S. Pollard shared information not with a U.S. enemy, but with a U.S. ally, Israel, which supports the U.S. enthusiastically because of a shared set of democratic, freedom-loving values. Barghouti represents values that bring the world woe and destruction.
"...creating your fabrications.."
Please tell me which part isn't true: are you saying
- there wasn't a mole software program? or
- Pollard didn't install it? or
- Israel didn't steal virtally every secret the US had?
I am a completely unhyphenated American and I prefer that he live as a source of embarrassment to the Israeli gov't in a US JAIL CELL.
Until the day he dies.
Was it positive for the US, the country that provides for Israel's freedom?
His act was a crucial positive for the free world
Was it positive for the US, the country that provides for Israel's freedom?
Absolutely so. That was my point. Not only the U.S., but the world as whole benefits from Israel.
And if Israel doesn't want him badly enough to give up something really valuable that the Americans want, then that is indeed what will happen to Pollard: he'll sit in a US jail cell until he dies.
However, if Pollard, as a convicted, aging spy can be of greater use to the US as a chip in a trade for something, then it does not serve America's interests well to be foolishly vindictive about one guy who can do no more damage.
That's why you don't execute spies. Other nations want them back, and can be made to pay for them. Israel may well release this Bagoudi terrorist fellow, whom they know will actually go out there and try to kill Jews again, if that's the price the Americans place on letting Pollard go.
Now, whether this trade makes any sense or not depends on what the Americans are intending to do with Bagoudi, and the extent to which they need him for their plans.
Pollard's of no use to anyone as a spy, and of no use to Israel anymore. He's of no use to the US sitting in a sell. But if he can be sold in exchange for something of critical use to American policy now, then it would be unwise to simply squander a valuable pawn out of vindictiveness. Besides, you can always hit him with a burst of radiation on the way out so that he dies of cancer within a year anyway, if you really want to get him.
Until the document he was sentenced on is declassified, none of us know what he did. But in no way is espionage a positive for the US.
"Please tell me which part isn't true"
As I observed in my earlier post to you, the biggest complaints about US intelligence has been that (a) the information is SOMEWHERE, but it is usually stored in a fashion that either prevents quick retrieval of that one piece of information or prevents quick fusion of that information with other relevant data (said sata being stored on other computer systems, using data formats that cannot be read except by the originating agency), and (b) that nobody's really doing anything to address the problem.
The notion that there is one great big master database with all of our secrets in it is thus not actually correct.
The notion that could exist a "mole program" that would access this nonexistent master database with all of our secrets is thus also not correct.
This, in turn, implies that Pollard could not have installed this nonexistent mole program that would access the aforementioned nonexistent master databse with all of our secrets is thus also not correct.
And this, in turn, implies that Israel would not be able to steal "virtually every secret the US had," as they would not have any automated means to do so, and the total population of Israel would not be sufficient to steal all of those secrets by hand.
Always nice to hear from a Jewish Lobby Expert, the ZOG and all.
Were you as familiar with the Pollard case, as opposed to ZOG, as you purport to be, you'd know one of the greatest complaints of Johnathan and Esther, and their supporters, is the fact that Israel hasn't gone to bat for him as they do for true "Prisoners of Zion". Surpassed only by their complaint that American Jews have supported him even less.
My opinion only, you can take your "Jewish Lobby" ZOG *rap and stuff it back were it came from.
You're right about his value if we can use it to our advantage. My impression of these stories, more rumors, is that they're US initiated. The idea isn't that Bagoudi will be sent here, rather that he'll be free to, in all liklihood, gain control of Fatah and by extension the PA. He's a popular guy, an active, charismatic terrorist as opposed to Abbas who has always been an inside guy. Which, if these reports are true, raises the question of why we consider it in our interest to establish an active terrorist state in the mideast. Frankly, Jews will die, but Israel will be able to deal with the threat. A destabilized Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq could be much more problematical.
I take it you are puzzled that people in Israel want him back at all, then...?
If, for example, I, errr, clap your scrotum between two cold bricks, have I conferred a benefit on you?
Could I charge you for the gesture?
No, thank you.
I look forward to reading some support -- any support at all -- for your contention.
What does "what he agrees to" matter in this picture? If a deal (fanstastic as it sounds) takes place between the US and Israeli governments, they take Pollard to the prison door and if he won't move, propel him out with a swift kick in the tuchas. He going to spy again to get back in?
It means that in the, I hope, extremely unlikely event a deal like this is cut, he'll stay in jail, and pay the rent. As though his fate, Pollard's fate, means a thing to anyone involved. Pure ego.
If the US agrees to release Pollard for Barghouti, it will prove two facts.
Pollard has been unjustifiably imprisoned for too long.
This Administration will do anything to support the "Palestinians" against Israel.
If Israel agrees to this, it will be more evidence for what is more and more obvious every single day.
The current Israeli Government is out of its ****** mind.
Any chance that mole computer program was also responsible for bringing down Challenger?