Pollard Could Be Freed in Peace Deal in Middle East

Former intelligence agent in the U.S. and a convicted spy for Israel, Jonathan Pollard could be given his freedom prior to Passover, the Jewish holiday as part of the efforts to save the peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, said an official in Israel involved in the peace talks.

Passover starts on April 14 and a number of suggestions for deals involving the release of Pollard have been discussed for a number of years, but it has never materialized.

Talk of the possible release by Pollard came as John Kerry the Secretary of State traveled on Monday to Israel in an attempt to mediate an ongoing dispute between the Palestinians and Israel over the release of prisoners by Israel.

The possible release of Pollard was discussed as part of an agreement that was not yet finalized. In exchange for the release of Pollard, sources familiar with the ongoing talks said that Israel would need to make substantial concessions, which might include a freeze on settlements, the release of more prisoners and an agreement to maintain peace negotiations beyond the deadline set for the end of April.

An official in Israel said parameters of the deal emerging included negotiations continuing to 2015 with the Palestinians and during that time, Palestinians would not take their case to any international bodies.

A fourth release of Palestinian prisoners would go forward and would include some Israeli Arabs, added the official.

Another 400 Palestinian prisoners would also be released. It would be Israel who would determine the prisoners to be released and no blood would be on their hands.

There also would be no new housing tenders in the West Bank.

Pollard, who is a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. was arrested, charged and then convicted of spying for Israel in 1987. He is currently serving a sentence of life in the U.S. His imprisonment has remained a source of tension between Israel and the U.S.

However, with the ongoing peace talks taking place between the Palestinians and Israel starting to falter, his release could be considered as an incentive for more concessions by Israel.

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