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October 06, 2011 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-10-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

metro >> roundup

Report: Biden Prevented
Pollard Clemency
(JTA) — President Obama was consid-
ering clemency for Jonathan Pollard until
Vice President Joseph Biden prevented it,
the New York Times reported.
"President Obama was considering
clemency, but I told him, 'Over my dead
body are we going to let him out before
his time," Biden said during a meeting
with rabbis in Boca Raton, Fla., accord-
ing to the newspaper. "If it were up to
me, he would stay in jail for life."
Pollard was sentenced to life in prison
in 1987 for spying for Israel. He is sched-
uled for mandatory parole in November
2015. In recent months, Obama has
received a flood of clemency appeals
on behalf of Pollard from Congress
members and former U.S. government
officials.
Pollard recently underwent kidney-
related surgery that was deemed suc-
cessful.
Biden reportedly took a different tack
during a 2007 interview with Shalom
TV. In a filmed interview now mak-
ing the rounds on the Internet, Biden,
then a U.S. senator from Delaware, said,
"There is a rationale behind the requests
for Pollard's release ... but there's not a
rationale to say, 'No, what happened did
not happen, he should be pardoned.
"My worry is that if we were to move
to go and pardon Pollard, it would make
a lie out of the notion that there are
certain rules, period.You cannot give
classified information, period. Even to
a friend — if this were Great Britain it
would be the same thing," Biden said
four years ago.
He stressed at the time that he favors a
commutation of the sentence rather than
a pardon, which would erase Pollard's
action completely.
Obama is relying on Biden for help in
his re-election campaign with Jewish-
American voters, the New York Times
article said.
"Mr. Biden has taken on the job of
fundraising among Jewish Democrats at
the same time that he has been seeking
to assure the party's base that the Obama
administration remains a loyal friend to
Israel': the article said.
Biden, through his foreign policy work
in the U.S. Senate, has built lifelong ties
with Israeli politicians — something
Obama does not have on his resume, the
report pointed out.

House Committee Chief
Puts Hold On Palestinian Aid
(JTA) — U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,
chairwoman of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee, is holding back
nearly $200 million in humanitarian
aid to the Palestinians.
Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is keeping her
House of Representatives committee
from considering approval of $192 mil-

lion in humanitarian program assis-
tance, two Capitol Hill sources said.
The money is separate from assistance
to the Palestinian Authority, $200 million
of which has already been distributed,
and instead is earmarked for nongovern-
mental groups.
Such holds on NGO money have been
held in the past pending oversight to
show that the NGOs are not working
with terrorist groups. Ros-Lehtinen in
recent weeks has expressed concern
that a tentative agreement to unite the
Palestinian Authority with Hamas is
already in effect. Hamas is the U.S.-
designated terrorist group that controls
the Gaza Strip.
The Americans for Peace Now
website is reporting that other House
Republicans also are holding the money,
and that Republicans in the House
and Senate are holding $150 million in
security assistance to the Palestinian
Authority.
Republicans and Democrats have
warned that such money may be with-
held if the Palestinians do not pull back
from their attempt to gain statehood rec-
ognition through the United Nations and
absent peace talks with Israel.
The Arab League on Sunday called on
the Arab states in the region to replace
that missing aid with their own dona-
tions.
"The Arabs will assist the Palestinian
Authority:' Arab League head Nabil al-
Arabi said Sunday in Cairo after a meet-
ing with chief Palestinian negotiator
Saeb Erekat. "This will be the strongest
answer" to the U.S. cuts.
Erekat said, "The Palestinian people
refuse to allow economic aid to become
an instrument of blackmail regarding
its rights to membership of the United
Nations."
The U.N.'s Security Council is now
considering the P.A.'s statehood bid,
which the United States has said it will
veto.

El Al To Charge
For Second Bag
(JTA) — El Al Airlines soon will be
charging $70 for the second piece of
luggage checked on coach seats to and
from Israel.
The new fee will affect tickets pur-
chased after Nov. 1, two representatives
of Israel's national airline confirmed
to JTA on Monday. The first bag will
remain free.
Continental Airlines started charging
$70 for the second bag checked on direct
flights to Israel in mid-June. Passengers
had been able to check two bags for free.
Delta is in the process of changing its
price structure for bags checked to Israel,
but would not disclose the changes.
US Airways provides free checking
for the first and second bag for all visi-
tors to Israel.

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October 6 2011

37

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