Just 2 days ago I stated that Jonathan Pollard will continue to rot in prison …. where he belongs.
Unfortunately, that will not be the case.
The US parole board has decided to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard from US prison on November 20, 2015.
Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to be released in November
Parole board decides to release convicted spy after 30 years; Israeli officials deny claims that development is linked to the deal with Iran over its nuclear program.
The US parole board has decided to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard from US prison on November 20, 2015, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Tuesday.
Pollard’s attorney said he must remain in the United States for five years as part of his parole, but noted President Barack Obama has the authority to allow him to move to Israel sooner.
The attorney noted the release was made possible after the US Justice Department has agreed not to work to stop Pollard’s parole.
American officials told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that Pollard’s release was planned in the coming weeks or months. The White House was quick to make clear that the parole board would make the decision, and the Justice Department said Pollard would have to finish serving his full sentence.
“Mr. Pollard’s status will be determined by the United States Parole Commission according to standard procedures. There is absolutely zero linkage between Mr. Pollard’s status and foreign policy considerations,” said Alistair Baskey, an NSC spokesperson.
The newspaper’s report cited US officials who said they hoped that Pollard’s release would help smooth US-Israeli relations, which have been rocky since six world powers recently signed a deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
Israeli officials, meanwhile, stressed that there was no link between preparations to release Pollard and a desire to assuage Israel after the agreement with Iran.
They said that a hearing on Pollard’s release occurred three weeks ago. “There is no involvement by the American or Israeli government; it’s a usual legal procedure,” they said.
Pollard has been in American prison for 30 years after being accused of spying for Israel on the Jewish nation’s ally.
Recent reports in the Jewish-American publication Algemeiner also cited sources who claimed that Pollard’s release was imminent upon the completion of his 30-year sentence in November.
Israel acknowledged that Pollard had been a spy in 1998, requesting a number of amnesty requests – which were rejected. In recent years, reports have repeatedly surfaced regarding Pollard’s declining health. It was occasionally reported that the US might release him as a gesture towards Israel, but these reports always proved false.
Former minister Rafi Eitan was the head of Lekem (the Bureau of Scientific Relations) when Pollard was arrested in 1985, and was in essence his handler. Eitan resigned from the intelligence community after Pollard was discovered, Lekem was disbanded, and Pollard and his associates accused Eitan of abandoning him.
Following reports of Pollard’s impending release, Eitan told Ynet on Saturday: “Whatever I say, I have no influence on that. Like every Israeli citizen, I hope and believe he’ll be freed, but beyond that I have no knowledge of the subject, only a prayer and a plea that he is released.”
MK Nachman Shai of the Zionist Union, chairman of the Knesset lobby for Pollard’s release, said: “Pollard is not a political card and the attempt to turn him into one and bind him to the Iran deal or the release of Arab prisoners is ridiculous, embarrassing, and humiliating. The time has come to release Pollard. He has earned his freedom on right and not on sufferance. Thirty years in jail, more than any American prisoner for a similar offense. Pollard will be released, now.”