According to a member of the US Parole Commission, Jonathan Pollard, now in his 29th year in a US jail on charges of spying for Israel, has waived a planned parole hearing. The move is seen as a protest of reports of a deal in which he would be released in exchange for over 400 Arab terrorists.
The commissioner, Patricia Smoot, noted that the parole hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, reports ABC News. Parole Commission Administrator Stephen Husk added that the hearing was to take place at the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, where Pollard is being held.
The surprising move comes the same Tuesday that a US offer to release Pollard was revealed, in exchange for the release of over 400 Israeli-held Arab terrorists, including arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti. Further, Israel would obligate itself to a partial construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, in a move to save the failing peace talks.
Pollard's refusal to attend the hearing was reportedly meant to express his opposition to the deal that would set Arab terrorists free.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) criticized the deal on Tuesday, noting that Pollard himself has opposed a "shameless" deal like this before, saying he isn't prepared to be released if it meant freedom for Arab terrorists.
Attorney Ze'ev Desberg, who himself lost a sister and brother-in-law to Arab terrorism, stated on Tuesday that it was Pollard's right to refuse to cooperate in the deal that would free terrorists.
The proposed deal was also sharply criticized by Judea and Samaria's Yesha Council as being a "disgraceful" case of "Arab blackmail and American bribery."
Leading Israeli rabbis similarly slammed the proposal, arguing that the release of terrorists is forbidden by Jewish law. They further criticized the US for holding Pollard "hostage."