Report: Kerry Offers Pollard's Release to Israel
United States Secretary of State John Kerry has offered Israel the release of Jonathan Pollard, Channel 10 News reported on Friday.
According to the report, Kerry’s offer was made as part of the discussions surrounding the upcoming planned release of 26 terrorists from Israeli jails as a “gesture” to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Kol Yisrael radio, which also reported about Kerry’s offer, said it relates to the fourth stage of the terrorist release and is conditional upon Israel agreeing to release Israeli Arabs who have committed acts of terrorism.
Israeli officials were quoted by both outlets as having said that they believe the idea has not been cleared with President Barack Obama and as such were doubtful that the offer would actually be implemented.
Pollard’s release has been tied in the past week with recent revelations by documents leaked by Edward Snowden that the United States conducted surveillance on Israeli leaders.
In recent days there have been calls by Israeli Knesset Members for the United States to free Pollard in the wake of these revelations, which said that American and British intelligence agencies tapped the communications of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Defense Minister Ehud Barak, among other foreign leaders.
Channel 2 reported this week that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will officially demand the release of Pollard from the U.S.
The unconfirmed report said that Netanyahu will ask for Pollard's release in one of two frameworks: either for another exchange of more Arab terrorist prisoners, or as part of agreeing to the interim deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Officials in the White House later said that Obama has no immediate plans to release Pollard and that he "stands behind what he said just before his visit to Israel.”
Before his visit to Israel last March, Obama said in an interview with Channel 2 that Pollard “has been serving his time. There is a justice system that allows for periodic review and the way I as president function here is to try and make sure that I am following the basic rules of that review.”
Obama said at the time he has "no plans for releasing Jonathan Pollard immediately but what I am going to be doing is to make sure that he is accorded the same kinds of review as others. I recognize the emotions involved in this. One of the strengths of the Israeli people is that you think about your people wherever they are.”
MKs from across the political spectrum attended a special Knesset session Wednesday in a public call on Obama for the release of Pollard.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)