(JNS.org) Multiple Jewish leaders have said that jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard would not want to be freed as part of a deal that would extract concessions from Israel.
A deal that is reportedly being considered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu includes five elements: Pollard’s freedom before Passover, which begins April 14; extending the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks into 2015, with the Palestinians committing not to seek unilateral moves at the United Nations; Israel proceeding with the fourth release of 26 Palestinian terrorists prisoners; Israel releasing another 400 Palestinian prisoners “without blood on their hands,” including women and minors; and an Israeli settlement construction freeze.
Zionist Organization of America National President Morton A. Klein said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, “Over the course of decades, I have personally spoken with Jonathan Pollard over 50 times, most recently, a few years ago. He also urged me several times thus—‘Mort, make it clear to the Israeli officials not to make any concessions, not of any land, or of freezing construction of Jewish homes in Judea/Samaria, in order to obtain my release.’”
Earlier, Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel told Army Radio that people close to Pollard have told him that the jailed spy opposes what would be a “shameful deal” to secure his freedom in exchange for the release of terrorists. The Jerusalem Post, on the other hand, cited “well-placed sources” who said Pollard would accept being freed by a political deal because he “understood that the only way for him to be released from prison alive was via such an agreement.”
Pollard, currently in his 29th year in prison, is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally. Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham. H. Foxman said in a statement Tuesday, “While the time has come for clemency, Pollard’s release should not be intertwined with any potential resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
“We hope that the Obama Administration will take the step of releasing Pollard on humanitarian grounds without seeing him as a potential ‘bargaining chip’ to pressure Israel to continue to negotiate in the absence of a true commitment on behalf of the Palestinians to make the difficult choices and decisions that would facilitate a lasting peace with the State of Israel,” Foxman said.
Pollard’s release “should not be conditional on any Israeli concessions after he has served 25 years longer than any other American convicted of a similar crime,” said ZOA’s Klein.