wo former U.S. ambassadors to Israel who have opposed clemency for jailed spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard told an Israeli news website that they have changed their minds.
Samuel W. Lewis, who was ambassador to Israel between 1977 and 1985, the year Pollard was arrested; and Thomas Pickering, who served as ambassador from 1985, shortly before Pollard was arrested, to 1988, after which he became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told Israel’s Walla News website that they would support Pollard’s release, though for different reasons.
Pickering told Walla that he believes freeing Pollard would help U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
While he says he believes that Pollard is a traitor to the United States, and does not accept that Pollard’s life sentence to prison is disproportionate, Pickering said that “I think that achieving an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement is far more important than the continuation of Pollard’s incarceration.”
Lewis does not believe there is a connection between the peace process and Pollard, and told Walla on Tuesday that Pollard should be freed on humanitarian grounds.
“He betrayed us, and I am glad he sat in prison, but 28 years is time enough. Even if he may get out two years from now, I think there is something compelling about the appeal by more than 100 members of Knesset to (President) Obama to free him now,” he told Walla.
Both former ambassadors are said to be close to Kerry. Pollard in the 29th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel.
Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/01/08/news-opinion/united-states/report-former-u-s-envoys-to-israel-now-support-pollard-release#ixzz2poR34C1E