An Israeli spy serving a life sentence in the United States and groups of Palestinian prisoners could be freed under an emerging deal to salvage Middle East peace talks, sources close to the negotiations said on Monday. The sources, who spoke as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said under the proposed arrangement that Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst caught spying for Israel in the 1980s, could be released by mid-April. In addition, Israel would go ahead with a promised release of a fourth group of Palestinians, among the 104 it pledged to free in a deal that led to the renewal of peace talks last July. Another group of jailed Palestinians would also go free - and the peace talks would be extended beyond an April 29 deadline, the sources said.What a deal - Israel gets its hero, the Palestinians get their people, and we get the greatest prize of them all: We get to maintain our "special relationship" with Israel. Win-win-win! In case you've forgotten, here's what Jonathan Pollard - an American citizen, at least on paper, if not in terms of loyalty - did to his country:
Pollard did more damage to the United States than any spy in history. And it was genuine damage, not just a mass of documents that had been routinely classified. Pollard’s Israeli handler, aided by someone in the White House who has up until now evaded arrest, was able to ask for specific classified documents by name and number. The Soviets obtained US war plans, passed to them by the Israelis in exchange for money and free emigration of Russian Jews without any regard for the damage it was doing to the United States. The KGB was able to use the mass of information to reconstruct US intelligence operations directed against it and a number of Americans and US agents paid with their lives. Pollard also revealed to the Israelis and Soviets the technical and human source capabilities that US intelligence did and did not have, which is the most critical information of all as it underlies all information collection efforts. Compounding the problem, the United States has never actually been able to accurately ascertain all of the damage done by Pollard because the Israeli government has refused to cooperate in the investigation and has not returned the documents that were stolen.But what do you want to bet that the Israel-Firsters will meekly accept this outrage while screaming for Edward Snowden's head?