Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Have a Bad Feeling About This

Jonathan Pollard has been in a US prison for spying for Israel. Marwan Barghouti has been sitting in an Israeli jail because of his numerous links to Palestinian terrorist groups and attacks that resulted in the murder of numerous Israelis.

Someone has the bright idea of a swap - Pollard for Barghouti.
Officials in Jerusalem claimed on Saturday that the US would free imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israel releasing jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.
According to Army Radio, Israel is set to offer the proposed prisoner swap deal in the next few months, following the unfolding anarchy in the Palestinian Authority. Seemingly, Israel intends to use Barghouti's release to strengthen the Fatah movement against the background of the much criticized rule of the new Hamas-led Palestinian government.

In 2004 Israel suggested a similar move but the initiative was rejected by the US government. Jerusalem officials predict that on this occasion the White House will accept the proposal.
As if strengthening the Fatah terrorists with Barghouti's release will somehow diminish or undermine Hamas. That's a silly proposition. Barghouti is unrepentant and there's no reason to believe that he would bring about any more peace in the region than having him remain in his current condition - which is safely behind bars where he cannot plan terrorist attacks of his own.

Some might say that Pollard was not really spying, or even that Pollard was set up by Aldrich Ames to throw investigators off Ames' trail, but to engage in this kind of a deal makes no sense whatsoever. Pollard, if he should be released, should be done on its own merits, and not as a part of a deal releasing a major terrorist with significant blood on his hands.

Others blogging: Ed Morrissey, Kesher Talk, and LGF.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Pollard's wife is on the record as saying that Israel is not interested in any deal freeing Pollard from US prison. Further:
The United States has denied a reported proposal to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from jail in exchange for the release of imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti's sentence, held in Israeli prison.

According to Army Radio, the US embassy released a statement saying that, "the case is closed, and Pollard was serving his sentence."

Officials in Jerusalem had claimed on Saturday that the US would free Pollard in exchange for the Israeli release of Barghouti.

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