Israel offers settlement freeze in exchange for US spy’s release

Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard

Israeli government officials are considering extending a settlement freeze in Israeli-occupied territories in exchange for the release of an American citizen serving a life sentence for spying on the US for Israel. Laura Rozen over at Politico reports that a representative of the embassy of Israel in Washington DC has denied knowledge of the rumored deal. But according to Israel Army Radio, an envoy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already “unofficially” passed the proposal along to US government officials. If accepted by the White House, the deal would involve the freezing of all new construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in exchange for the release of Jonathan Jay Pollard, a US Navy intelligence analyst who in 1987 was sentenced to life imprisonment for spying on the US on behalf of Israel. Pollard, who has since been awarded honorary Israeli citizenship, and is considered a hero in Israel, has so far served 25 years in prison. The Obama Administration’s reaction to the alleged Israeli proposal remains unknown. However, Rozen correctly points out that, if the rumors of a possible Israeli offer are correct, it would not be the first time Tel Aviv has offered Washington a deal involving Pollard’s release from prison. A similar suggestion was made to the White House during the final months of the Administration of President Bill Clinton. Then a furious reaction by the US intelligence community, and a resignation threat from CIA Director George Tenet, forced both parties to shelve the deal. In 2008, a departing President George W. Bush surprised the GOP’s neoconservative wing when he decided not to pardon Pollard, despite rumors to the contrary.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

5 Responses to Israel offers settlement freeze in exchange for US spy’s release

  1. Dr. Monkey says:

    I hope they keep that traitor in prison until he dies.

  2. In a speech at Tel Aviv University last March, VP Joe Biden said that the U.S. has “no better friend” than Israel.

    (Perhaps being a ‘friend’ is different from having a ‘special relationship’?)

    With friends like this….. ?

  3. fred lapides says:

    One could be sanctimonious about all this had we not used our spies to spy on our allies, but that said, I was under the impression that the PM in Israel was under pressure from the right wing to continue, despite pleas from Obama administration, to build the settlements, and that he would have serious policitcal problems if he did not placate the Right wing …to discuss freeing up the spy seems to fly in the face of the political situation.

  4. Van says:

    Just a technicality, but using “Judea” and “Samaria” without quotes is a red flag. “West Bank” is a more neutral term.

  5. intelNews says:

    It’s a technicality, but an important one. Thanks for your input. [JF]

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