Israel has requested the United States release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in return for freeing 103 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails since before the Oslo Accords, Channel 2 reported Monday evening.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly made the request to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as a quid pro quo for the Palestinians’ demand that the prisoners be released before renewing peace talks. They Americans rejected the request but said it will be taken into consideration.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu “has consistently brought up the issue of Jonathan Pollard’s release in his meetings with senior American officials.”
Pollard, a Jewish American, pleaded guilty in 1987 to passing classified information to Israel while working as an American civilian intelligence analyst. He received a life sentence.
Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have approached U.S. President Barack Obama several times over the past four years to request he pardon Pollard. Until now, Obama has rejected the requests and stated that Pollard will receive a fair hearing in front of a parole committee review set to take place in 2015.
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