Reported Kerry-Netanyahu Deal Frees Hundreds Of Palestinian Prisoners, Pollard
04/01/14
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JERUSALEM — Israel would release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and freeze West Bank settlement building, and the United States would free Jonathan Pollard under a reported deal reached between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kerry and Netanyahu met Monday night and Tuesday morning in Israel in an attempt to prevent the U.S.-backed peace negotiations from breaking down. Kerry’s visit to Israel was unplanned.

The secretary of state did not meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but Kerry is scheduled to return on Wednesday night to meet with him in Ramallah. Kerry left Israel on Tuesday afternoon to attend a NATO meeting in Brussels.

According to reports in the Arab media as well as by international news services, under the deal discussed by Kerry and Netanyahu, Israel would release the final group of 26 Palestinian prisoners agreed to in August as well as several hundred others. Israel also would agree to a freeze in settlement construction in the West Bank, though not eastern Jerusalem, and the freeze would be unannounced.

Meanwhile, news agencies citing “sources close to the negotiations” said Pollard, the convicted American spy for Israel serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison, could be free by Passover as part of the deal. Passover starts on the night of April 14.

The agreement is awaiting approval from Ramallah, according to Israel Radio.

editor@jewishweek.org

 

Last Update:

04/03/2014 - 20:20

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Concerned Parent, thanks for providing this information. I just read the editorial from the JDF and was not persuaded. I am not in the habit of criticizing people for their political beliefs, but this may be a time when criticism is called for. The JDF is biased from the committed left-wing. I believe they are using Pollard as a scape goat. There is no way that a fair, reasonable evaluation of the Pollard case would call for life in prison. He has paid for his crime with almost 30 years in jail. That's enough. No one else found guilty of a similar crime has served this long of sentence. It disturbs me that people with a vested political agenda, like the JDF, want to keep people in jail. Isn't that what Stalin did?

The idea of setting a moral equivalence between murderers with Jewish blood on their hands and someone who illegally gave American secrets to an ally to help it fight the war on terror is truly obscene.

Can the Jewish Week, or any one, provide the following statistics:

How many Israelis were killed by the 26 Palestinians being considered for release and what has been the average number of years they were in prison?

How does that compare to the number of years that Pollard has been in prison?

This apparent breakdown of negotiations should not be a surprise to anyone, and highlights the US's failure of leadership. Let's be honest, not propagandist. No one in Israel or the Palestinian Authority believes peace is at hand (or even another mile or two down the road). In that light, the pointed, big push by the US and Western Europe to oversee the signing of a piece of paper by the Palestinians and Israelis is so old, so tired, so doomed to failure that I was truly surprised to see Kerry so gung-ho, so invested in this endeavor, which is a low probability outcome. We need more imagination and vision from our government leaders. I don't see any indication that we will get it.

The Jewish Daily Forward called on the US NOT to release Jonathan Pollard and hopes he will die in jail.

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