Both Israel and US claim “zero linkage” to development in region; Pollard to remain in US for 5 years on parole
Israel’s Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, and the United States Justice Department announced Tuesday evening that Jonathan Pollard, a convicted spy for Israel, will be released on parole following a 30 years in prison on November 20th of this year. Pollard was denied parole in August of 2014.
Pollard was as a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel, Israel admitting in 1998 that Pollard was paid to spy for Israel.
According to initial reports, Pollard’s release was arranged through the United States Justice Department. Pollard will be required to remain in the United States for five years following his release.
Both Israeli and American officials claim that there is no link between the announcement of Pollard’s release and Israel’s stance against the nuclear deal with Iran. According to a spokesperson for the National Security Council of the White House, “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.”
An additional spokesperson stated, “The Department of Justice has always and continues to maintain that Jonathan Pollard should serve his full sentence for the serious crimes he committed, which in this case is a 30-year sentence as mandated by statute.”
Israeli officials responded to the news of his release also denying “zero linkage” to developments in the region, an official stating, “There is no involvement by the American or Israeli government; it’s a usual legal procedure.” Pollard’s hearing for his release occurred a few weeks ago.
Pollard’s lawyer stated on his release “The decision to grant parole was made unanimously by the three members of the United States Parole Commission, who make their decisions independently of any other US government agency. The decision is not connected to recent developments in the Middle East.”
His lawyer additionally released the statement: Mr. Pollard is looking forward to being reunited with his beloved wife Esther. Mr. Pollard would like to thank the many thousands of well-wishers in the United States, in Israel, and throughout the world, who provided grass roots support by attending rallies, sending letters, making phone calls to elected officials, and saying prayers for his welfare. He is deeply appreciative of every gesture, large or small…We look forward to seeing our client on the outside in less than four months.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated on the announcement of Pollard’s release, “After decades of effort, Jonathan Pollard will finally be released. Throughout his time in prison, I consistently raised the issue of his release in my meetings and conversations with the leadership of successive US administrations. We are looking forward to his release.”