Jimmy Carter weighed in on Friday on whether Jonathan Pollard should be released from prison as part of current Middle East peace talks, saying he would support freedom for the spy if the Israelis were to fully accept the deal from Secretary of State John Kerry.
Carter said in an interview that he would agree to the release of Pollard, the U.S. naval intelligence analyst currently serving a life prison sentence after a 1987 conviction for providing classified information to Israel, only if certain conditions were met.
“If the Israelis would agree to accept John Kerry’s proposal, if Pollard was released, I would say yes [to supporting freedom for Pollard],” the former president said. “But I would make it an absolute swap and a certain thing, not just as a factor.”
Neither Kerry nor White House press secretary Jay Carney has indicated, how, if at all, his release would factor into the peace talks. As of Friday, details of any potential deal were being held closely under wraps, though Israel had as recently as this past weekend refused to release certain Palestinian prisoners in order to resume talks, according to the Associated Press. The report also said much of the discussion was about a timeline for more talks to happen at all.
But Carter also said patience might be the most prudent solution regarding Pollard, pointing out he could be released next year.
“He’s going to be eligible for parole in another year or so and that, in my opinion, that would be the best thing,” Carter said.
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