Among the “gestures” the United States suggested Israel undertake to resume talks with the Palestinian Authority was the release of terrorists from Israeli prisons. It would not have have been the first time Israel agreed to such a “gesture” at Washington's request – but this time, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sought to make it a three way deal.
Israel would be prepared to release terrorists in order to jumpstart the talks, Netanyahu told the Americans. But Israel wanted something in return: The release of Jonathan Pollard from an American prison.
Needless to say, the Americans turned the deal down.
The three way deal was reported on Channel Two Monday night, and was made in recent days during the shuttle diplomacy U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his staff was engaged in. Kerry conveyed the request to Washington, where officials rejected it, Channel Two said.
According to Channel Two, Netanyahu made the terrorist release conditional on Pollard's release in order to convince right wing ministers to support the deal, without which negotiations with the PA would not take off.
At this point, it is not clear if the negotiations are on or not. Earlier Monday, Palestinian Authority officials said that they had no information on the reopening of talks with Israel, and could not say when, if ever, they would take place. In any event, Netanyahu said Monday that any deal made with the PA would require approval in a referendum. “Any agreement that is not brought to the people for approval is not worthy of being signed,” Netanyahu said.