Activists Skeptical Over Kerry's 'Offer' on Pollard
Activists campaigning for the release of Jonathan Pollard dismissed on Saturday night the reports that United States Secretary of State John Kerry has offered Israel Pollard’s release as part of the discussions surrounding the upcoming planned release of 26 terrorists from Israeli jails.
Reports to this effect surfaced on Friday in several Israeli media outlets, with some reports saying Kerry’s offer was conditional on Israel agreeing to release Israeli Arab terrorists as part of the fourth batch of terrorists it will release as a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority.
The activists said they had not heard about Kerry’s offer other than through Israeli media and as such were not aware whether such an offer had indeed been made.
Dismissing the offer as a political ploy, they added, “We wish to remind of the words of many American officials who have stated that after 29 years, Pollard's release is the most just and humanitarian thing that must be done, regardless of other things.”
Israeli officials quoted Friday said they believe Kerry’s 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.”