Washington offers to free Israeli spy convicted of espionage against America

Washington has offered to free jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard as part of an arrangement that would secure an extension of the deadlocked peace talks, army radio said Wednesday.

Citing Israeli officials, the radio said the offer was put on the table as part of a deal which would ensure Israel releases a fourth tranche of veteran Palestinian prisoners, scheduled for March 29.

Israel has cast doubt on the planned releases, citing Palestinian intransigence in the crisis-hit peace talks which are due to end on April 29.

Washington is trying to extend the deadline but the Palestinians say that if the prisoners are not freed, there will be no extension.

Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst, was arrested in 1985 for giving Israel thousands of secret documents about U.S. espionage in the Arab world.

He was jailed for life, and Washington has rejected repeated Israeli efforts to secure his release. He won Israeli citizenship in 1995.

There was no comment from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not comment directly on the report but said there were “no plans” to release Pollard at this stage.

“Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage against the United States, a very serious crime, was sentenced to life in prison, and is serving his sentence,” she said in a statement.

“There are currently no plans to release Jonathan Pollard.”

Israel is due to free a fourth and final tranche of 26 prisoners this weekend under a deal that saw the relaunch of US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians in late July 2013.

So far, it has released 78 of a promised 104, nearly all of whom had been jailed for more than 20 years.

The fourth group of prisoners has garnered fierce opposition because, for the first time, it includes 14 Arab Israelis jailed for nationalist attacks.

Israel wants the so-far inconclusive peace talks extended beyond their April 29 deadline, and ministers have warned that should the Palestinians refuse, the remaining prisoners will not be freed.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Amman later on Wednesday in an attempt to find a formula to extend the talks.

  • Hannibal

    YUP encourage the bastards to continue spying on the U.S. and the world… There are people in jails for lesser or even virtual crimes… What a theater!

    • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

      To be fair, the US and EU admitted to spying on Israel and Pollard only shared information that the US had agreed in writing that it was bound to share with Israel.

      • Hannibal

        Everybody spies on everybody… Friends and allies should never spy on each others… Pollard was convicted so I wonder if Pollard were an Arab he would ever be released… Double standards are rampant therefore the grievances.

        • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

          True but again, he was sharing info that the USA was supposed to share. Secondly, he has served well over the prescribed sentence. Don’t be so quick to jump and say ‘discrimination’.

          • MekensehParty

            More propaganda…
            Nice of you to give him the nationality while in jail.
            He’s a spy, a bad one and an embarrassment to the Mossad and Israel.
            You simply need to stomach it.
            Happens with the best families. (Arabism)

          • Hannibal

            discrimination (as I jump) lol

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Yeah what about the thousands of Lebanese imprisoned in the US for spying. Start a campaign!

          • Hannibal

            They are not Lebanese… The Lebanese state never spies on anyone except their own citizens unfortunately… If you mean people of Lebanese origin spying for other countries those individuals are no longer Lebanese.
            Pollard spied FOR Israel… No Lebanese YET spies FOR Lebanon.
            Sorry to disappoint you…

          • 5thDrawer

            Thousands ??