Despite the friendly meeting in Washington between Obama and Netanyahu, the president will not intervene to allow Jonathan Pollard, convicted three decades ago for spying for Israel, to leave the US upon his release from prison next week.
Famous American-Israeli prisoner Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted in 1985 for spying for Israel, is scheduled for parole next week. The terms specify that he must remain in the US, under supervision, for a period of five years.
Many were hoping that US President Barack Obama, in a reportedly friendly meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday morning, would agree to intervene on Pollard’s behalf and to allow him to go to Israel, according to his wishes.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said last week that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Netanyahu raised the Pollard case during his White House meeting with Obama on Monday, the Washington Post reported.
Netanyahu did not respond to reporters who asked about Pollard after the meeting, the Post added.
“President Obama has not intervened in the judicial process here in the United States, and that’s been his consistent approach,” Rhodes said.
Pollard was a civilian analyst for the US Navy when he was arrested. As part of a plea deal, he was convicted of one count of conspiracy to deliver classified information to Israel.
Supporters have long criticized his life sentence as excessive compared with penalties for others convicted of spying for friendly countries, the Post notes. Israel, which granted him citizenship 20 years ago, has lobbied for his release.
The Washington Post)