White House press secretary Jay Carney at the Monday briefing said he was not going to get into any “details” after being asked about a potential deal that could result in the release of Jonathan Pollard, a spy for Israel in a U.S. prison — who is up for parole in November, 2015.
Secretary of State John Kerry is back in Jerusalem trying to jumpstart stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks and a Reuters story in the Jerusalem Post is reporting, “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.”
Haaretz reported, “There is a possibility that the release of spy Jonathan Pollard will come as part of the deal being worked out right now,” a senior Israeli official involved in the talks with Palestinians said. The assessment now is that Pollard will be released in exchange for Israel’s agreement to release 14 Israeli-Arab prisoners jailed since before the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.”
The Associated Press is reporting out of Jersualem, the U.S. “is talking with Israel about the possibility of releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard from prison early, a person familiar with Mideast peace negotiations said Monday. That would come in exchange for Israeli concessions that would allow faltering peace talks with the Palestinians to continue beyond an end-of-April deadline.
“The person cautioned that such a step by the United States — which would be a dramatic turnaround from previous refusals — was far from a done deal and that discussions with Israel on the matter are ongoing. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the negotiations on the record.
“In return, Israel would have to undertake significant concessions to the Palestinians. It was not clear what those concessions might entail.”
Carney, asked about a potential deal for Pollard said, “On the question about release of prisoners, this is a complicated issue that is being worked through with the parties, and I’m not going to get into details about that. With regards to Mr. Pollard, he is a person who was convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence. And I don’t have any update on his situation.”
Over at the State Department, spokesman Marie Harf, also asked about Pollard on Monday said, “rumors about what may or may not be on the table is certainly not breaking news in terms of these negotiations and it’s not just — new to the last few weeks. So what we’ve said is these discussions are private. They are ongoing. The secretary has been there multiple, multiple times, has never hesitated dive right in and see if he can help bring the two sides a little closer together.”