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Jonathan Pollard Could Be Freed To Salvage Mideast Peace Talks

An Israeli spy serving a life sentence in the United States and groups of Palestinian prisoners could be freed under an emerging deal to salvage Middle East peace talks, sources close to the negotiations said on Monday.

The sources, who spoke as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said under the proposed arrangement that Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst caught spying for Israel in the 1980s, could be released by mid-April.

In addition, Israel would go ahead with a promised release of a fourth group of Palestinians, among the 104 it pledged to free in a deal that led to the renewal of peace talks last July. Another group of jailed Palestinians would also go free – and the peace talks would be extended beyond an April 29 deadline, the sources said.

The White House said on Monday it had no new information to provide on the situation of Pollard after sources close to negotiations aimed at salvaging Middle East peace talks said the convicted Israel spy and groups of Palestinian prisoners could be released in a deal under consideration.

“He is a person who is convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence, and I don’t have any update on his situation,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters when asked whether Pollard’s release was something that could be offered as an incentive to Israel.

The sources, who spoke as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the region, said under the proposed arrangement that Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst caught spying for Israel in the 1980s, could be released by mid-April.

In addition, Israel would go ahead with a promised release of a fourth group of Palestinians, among the 104 it pledged to free in a deal that led to the renewal of peace talks last July. Another group of jailed Palestinians would also go free and the peace talks would be extended beyond an April 29 deadline, the sources said.

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