Reports: Jonathan Pollard could go free in deal to extend Israeli-Palestinian talks

A Hebrew sign in Israel reading "We want Pollard home." Credit: Tamar Hayardeni via Wikimedia Commons.

( Imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard could go free as part of a deal that would extend the U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations into 2015 and extract various concessions from the Jewish state, Israeli media reported with varying degrees of certainty.

Yedioth Ahronoth, citing an Israeli source familiar with the ongoing negotiations, reported that Pollard would be freed before Passover. Israel National News reported that a Pollard deal had “crystallized,” and Haaretz cited a senior Israeli official as saying, “Things are not sealed yet but we are not far from it.”

According to the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, the deal includes five elements: Pollard’s freedom before Passover; extending the peace talks into 2015, with the Palestinians committing not to make unilateral moves at the U.N.; Israel proceeding with the fourth release of 26 Palestinian terrorists prisoners; Israel releasing another 400 Palestinian prisoners “without blood on their hands,” including women and minors; and an Israeli settlement construction freeze.

“It won’t be a complete [settlement] freeze,” a source told Israel National News. “Tenders and projects already being built will continue, as well as government and public buildings in Jerusalem.”  

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel told Army Radio that people close to Pollard have told him that the jailed spy opposes a “shameful deal” to secure his freedom in exchange for the release of terrorists. Pollard, currently in his 29th year in prison, is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally.

Posted on April 1, 2014 .