November 1, 2010

Report: Israel PM offers to trade freeze for US spy


Ma’an - JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested to US President Barack Obama to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for extending settlement freeze in the West Bank for 60 days, an Israeli news site reported Saturday.

Inian Merkazi ("Central Issues") quoted sources in Washington saying Netanyahu has already made his suggestion. Jonathan Pollard is serving a life term in an American jail after being convicted of espionage and spying for the Israeli state against its closest ally.

It is widely believed that Obama offered Israel certain guarantees in exchange for extending its partial freeze, which expired 26 September. The PLO has said it will not return to talks without a new announcement.

In an editorial, The New York Times argued Friday in an editorial that the offer, which did not mention Pollard's release, was "very generous — too generous, we believe ... It included additional security guarantees and more fighter planes, missile defense, satellites. Mr. Netanyahu still refused," the paper said.

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