Judea Samaria Council Slams 'US Bribery, Arab Blackmail'
A reported American offer revealed to Arutz Sheva on Tuesday, by which Jonathan Pollard would be released in exchange for over 400 Israeli-held Arab terrorists, including arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, was sharply denounced by Judea and Samaria's Yesha Council.
Aside from releasing the terrorists, Israel would be obligated to a partial building freeze in Judea and Samaria, as well as parts of Jerusalem, in order to continue peace talks and secure the release of Pollard, now in his 29th year of incarceration in an American prison on charges of spying for Israel.
In response to the plans, Yesha Council released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, declaring "the submission to Arab blackmail and American bribery through the use of Pollard is a disgrace. Freezing building and freeing murderers is not a new patent."
"The government of Israel has already frozen (building) and released murderers several times, but the Palestinian leadership isn't interested in peace, but rather steps up its demands and requests more and more murderers," noted the statement.
Yesha Council strongly denounced the "extortion," calling on government ministers to oppose the "shameful deal," and in doing so "not to submit to American pressure and bribery."
The statement clarified the Council's ardent desire for Pollard's release, but noted "making the joy of the day of his release dependent on the mourning of the bereaved families whose loved ones' murderers are released is an unforgivable act."
"The Palestinians are extorting, the Americans are bribing, and the one paying the price is the government of Israel in the name of us, the citizens," concluded the council.
"Put an end to this farce"
Dani Dayan, Chief Foreign Envoy of the Yesha Council, issued a statement similarly slamming the proposed deal.
"The amount of time John Kerry has invested in attempting to secure the release of convicted terrorists and his manipulative use of Jonathan Pollard are shameful," noted Dayan. "What is the purpose of resuscitating this redundant process that has failed to achieve even a vague framework agreement in nine months?"
Dayan called for Israel to "put an end to this never ending farce that stems from the Palestinians ever-growing demands and intransigence. Once again, the Palestinian leadership has no intent of making peace and merely wants to gain public support by securing the release of murderers.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) officials have already revealed that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is only staying in talks to secure the release of all 104 terrorists promised as a "gesture" to promote the peace talks. The talks have hit a loggerhead due to Abbas's adamant refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
Major Israeli rabbis have raised their voices in condemnation of the new American Pollard deal, arguing that releasing terrorists is against the laws of the Torah.
Retired Colonel Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Meir Har-el Hesder Yeshiva (Torah academy) in Modi'in, remarked "once the US decided to trade (Pollard) for concessions, it really let the cat out of the bag. Pollard is being held hostage for Israel to make serious concessions regarding its security and sovereignty and Pollard's release markets them to the Israeli public."