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News, March 2014
Zionist Americans Use Farcical Negotiations Trick to Release the Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard
April 2, 2014
Abu Zuhri asks PA to stop the negotiations farce
[ 02/04/2014 - 07:24 AM ]
Hamas has asserted its rejection of any renewal of the current negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under US patronage.
Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press release on Tuesday that his movement refuses any attempt to extend those negotiations.
Abu Zuhri called on the PA to end this “farce”, which would only lead to liquidating the Palestinian cause.
US secretary of state John Kerry met with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu twice on Monday in a bid to find means of extending the period of negotiations that expires by end of April. Kerry, however, cancelled a visit to the PA in Ramallah that was scheduled on Wednesday after the PA announced it was applying for joining 15 UN-affiliated organizations.
Abbas Signs Applications to Join More UN Institutions, Treaties
[Tuesday Evening, April 1, 2014]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has signed fifteen applications
that would be submitted to the United Nations, aiming at joining more UN
bodies and treaties.
AP sources: US considers release of spy Pollard
April 1, 2014 12:35 AM
JERUSALEM (AP) —
The United States is talking with Israel about releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard early from his life sentence as an incentive to the Israelis in the troubled Mideast peace negotiations, people familiar with the talks said Monday. Releasing Pollard, a thorn in U.S.-Israeli relations for three decades, would be an extraordinary step underscoring the urgency of U.S. peace efforts.
Two people describing the talks cautioned that such a release — which would be a dramatic turnaround from previous refusals — was far from certain and that discussions with Israel on the matter were continuing. Both spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the talks on the record.
In return for the release, the people close to the talks said, Israel would have to undertake significant concessions to the Palestinians in Middle East negotiations. Such concessions could include some kind of freeze on Israeli settlements in disputed territory, the release of Palestinian prisoners beyond those Israel has already agreed to free and a guarantee that Israel would stay at the negotiating table beyond an end-of-April deadline.
Secretary of State John Kerry met for several hours late Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before sitting down with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and another Palestinian official. Kerry met again with Netanyahu on Tuesday morning before his scheduled departure to Brussels for NATO talks on Ukraine.
U.S. defense and intelligence officials have consistently argued against releasing Pollard.
Pollard, an American Jew, was a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy when he gave thousands of classified documents to his Israeli handlers. The Israelis recruited him to pass along U.S. secrets including satellite photos and data on Soviet weaponry in the 1980s. He was arrested by FBI agents in Washington in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. He pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents to Israel and received a life sentence. President Barack Obama and his predecessors have refused to release Pollard despite pleas from Israeli leaders.
Apart from any negotiations in the meantime, Pollard could be released from prison on Nov. 21, 2015 — 30 years after his arrest. He has been serving his sentence at a federal facility in Butner, N.C.
White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday declined to discuss any possible deal.
"He is a person who is convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence. I don't have any updates on his situation," Carney told reporters at the White House.
Ahead of his trip to the Middle East last March, Obama told Israeli television station Channel 2 that Pollard "is an individual who committed a very serious crime here in the United States."
"He's been serving his time," Obama said. "I have no plans for releasing Jonathan Pollard immediately but what I am going to be doing is to make sure that he, like every other American who's been sentenced, is accorded the same kinds of review and the same examination of the equities that any other individual would provide."
The president said at the time that he recognized the emotions involved in the situation. But he added, "As the president, my first obligation is to observe the law here in the United States and to make sure that it's applied consistently."
Various suggestions for deals for Pollard's release have been floated over the years, and they were raised again last week in the Israeli press.
The long-running Middle East peace negotiations are snagged over several issues, including wither Israel will agree to release more than two dozen prisoners. They include 14 Arab Israelis whom Palestinian authorities consider to be heroes and freedom fighters. Israel considers them terrorists.
Israel has already released three other groups of prisoners as part of the peace negotiations that began last July. All had served lengthy terms for involvement in attacks on Israelis, and scenes of them returning to jubilant celebrations have angered the Israeli public. A fourth batch was scheduled to be released on March 29, and the delay has prompted Palestinian authorities to threaten to end the negotiations.
Netanyahu has said he would present any additional release recommendations to his Cabinet — where approval is not guaranteed. Netanyahu's coalition is dominated by hard-liners who have been extremely critical of the previous releases. The final release is especially contentious because it is expected to include convicted murderers and Arab citizens of Israel.
Carney declined to offer details when asked about that prisoner release. "This is a complicated issue that is being worked through with the parties," he said.
Pollard is said to be in poor health. His case has become a rallying cry in Israel, where leaders say his nearly three decades in U.S. prison amounts to excessive punishment. Pollard enjoys widespread sympathy among Israelis, and Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have routinely pressed Obama and other U.S. presidents for his pardon or release.
Stiff opposition from the American military and intelligence community has deterred the White House. Intelligence officials have argued that his release would harm national security and that the U.S. must maintain a strong deterrent to allies by warning them of the consequences of spying on American soil.
But there are signs that that resolve may be softening. In recent years, former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, along with prominent figures such as Sen. John McCain and former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, have all called for Pollard's release.
Netanyahu has sought to link a Pollard release to peace talks before. During his first term as prime minister, Netanyahu pressed the issue as part of a 1998 interim deal with the Palestinians. President Bill Clinton rejected that request after fierce opposition from U.S. intelligence officials.
Also during Netanyahu's first term, in the late 1990s, Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship. While Netanyahu was out of office, he visited Pollard in prison. In 2011, Netanyahu formally appealed to the U.S. for the release and made a personal plea to allow him to attend his father's funeral. The U.S. denied those requests.
Associated Press writers Lara Jakes, Josh Lederman and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
The Arguments For And Against Releasing Jonathan Pollard
by Greg Myre
NPR, April 01, 201412:51 PM
Should the United States free Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who was sentenced to life for spying for Israel?
bubbles to the surface periodically, and suddenly his fate has become central to Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to keep alive the shaky Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Many in the U.S., and particularly those in the national security establishment, strongly oppose freeing Pollard, a civilian analyst in the Navy who pleaded guilty to passing on secret documents to Israel. He was arrested in 1985 and is serving a life sentence in federal prison in Butner, N.C.
Meanwhile, some in Israel and the U.S. say it's time for him to be freed.
"Pollard discovered that information vital to Israel's security was being deliberately withheld by certain elements within the U.S. national security establishment," his supporters write at . "The information being withheld from Israel included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities."
Here are the main arguments for and against freeing Pollard:
Impact On The Peace Process: Pollard supporters say his release could help breathe life into the faltering peace process. If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is contemplating concessions, he could point to the release of Pollard as something gained in return.
Some reports say a package deal would also involve the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners (which Israel has already agreed to), a slowdown in the growth of Israeli West Bank settlements, and promises from Israeli and Palestinian leaders to extend negotiations through 2015.
But critics say releasing Pollard would smack of U.S. desperation at a time when no breakthrough in peace efforts is on the horizon.
Jeffrey Goldberg, a prominent Middle East analyst, writes in :
"The right-wing of the Netanyahu coalition, and the right-most members of the prime minister's own Likud Party, would like very much to welcome Pollard at Ben-Gurion International Airport, but they will not trade land for him, not one inch. To think otherwise is foolish. The cause of Middle East peace will not be advanced by the release of a hapless spy."
He Spied, But For An Ally: Pollard has said he was motivated by the belief that the intelligence he passed on was vital to the security of Israel, one of the closest U.S. allies. He acknowledged his actions in pleading guilty and claims he had no intention of harming the U.S.
"Jonathan Pollard was an ideologue, not a mercenary," his supporters write at . "The FBI concluded after nine months of polygraphing that Pollard acted for ideological reasons only, not for profit."
However, he received around $50,000 and expected to earn much more.
There's also the lingering question of what Israel did with Pollard's information. Investigative reporter has written that Israel passed on that information to the Soviet Union in exchange for allowing Soviet Jews to emigrate. Others say this never happened. This question has never been definitively answered.
Some opposed to Pollard's release say much larger U.S.-Israeli issues are at stake, such as how the countries should deal with Iran's nuclear program. The Pollard case should not complicate the larger Israel-U.S. relationship, they say.
Barbara Opall-Rome, writing an op-ed in the liberal Israeli paper , said:
"At such a critical point in strategic cooperation, when clarity must govern how our two countries move forward on the Iranian nuclear threat and other key issues, the bilateral agenda should not be clouded with misrepresentations of prisoner 09185-016 doing time in North Carolina.
"So let's be clear: Pollard is not a prisoner of Zion, but a man who committed a serious crime for financial gain and glory."
His Sentence Was Too Harsh: Compared with recent events, including bombshell leaks by former NSA staffer Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks, Pollard's case is of a lesser magnitude, his supporters contend.
He's been jailed for nearly three decades, which is already longer than others have been imprisoned for comparable offenses, his supporters argue.
But his case strikes a nerve in the intelligence community. In 1998, President Clinton considered Pollard's release when the peace negotiations were at a critical juncture. The CIA director at the time, George Tenet, reportedly threatened to resign, arguing he would lose support at the agency if Pollard was freed. Clinton didn't act.
"In the end, Obama may do the same," Michael Crowley writes in . "After all, it can't be any easier to grant clemency to a man convicted of espionage in the post-Edward Snowden world."
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