Reports on Friday emerged that the Obama Administration has plans to release Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life in prison for spying for Israel, to the Israeli government as part of the multi-billion dollar package aimed at placating the Netanyahu government after the Iran deal.
Israeli officials today say they’ll be glad to take Pollard, who they’ve long sought, but that the administration shouldn’t get their hopes up that it’ll change Israel’s stance, and that they plan to keep condemning the Iran nuclear deal with the P5+1 irrespective of how many goodies they get from the US.
Israel has sought Pollard’s release for decades, and Israel’s far-right has treated him as a great hero to the nation. Israeli officials have openly suggested in the past that they were willing to trade diplomatic concessions, usually related to the Palestinian peace process, for Pollard. Now that the US has something they actually want, Israel doesn’t seem to be on board.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren confirmed that Pollard has been considered a diplomatic chip since the 1990s, but suggested Israel wants to keep that tied to minor concessions in renewing peace talks with the Palestinians.