The White House has said that there is “no change” in its position regarding Jonathan Pollard, a former American intelligence analyst who has been imprisoned for nearly three decades over spying for Israel.
“There’s no change in our position on Pollard,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said on Tuesday, according to the Hill.
The statement comes as senior Israeli officials are angry over intelligence leaks indicating that the US National Security Agency had spied on offices of former Israeli leaders.
The new leaks by American whistleblower and former NSA contactor Edward Snowden have spurred renewed calls for Pollard’s release.
The Israeli media reported on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would condition additional “peace talks” with the Palestinians on his freedom.
Netanyahu has repeatedly lobbied American officials in recent months to win release for its spy and indicated that Tel Aviv may insist on his freedom for progress in negotiations brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry.
“He should have been released long ago,” Netanyahu said, according to The Jerusalem Post. “I think this is understood by everyone here and I believe it is also increasingly understood in the United States.”
Pollard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government in 1986 in return for cash and gifts. He was sentenced to life in prison.
The Zionist regime has granted Pollard citizenship so he could live in Israel if he were released. But top US officials have opposed his release, and so far no president has commuted his sentence.
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