The American taboo on Pollard's release has been removed

Now the question is only the price

Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - April 13, 2014

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard will not arrive in Jerusalem for Monday night's Passover Seder, barring a last-minute move by US President Barack Obama to commute his life sentence to the nearly 28-and-a-half years he has served.

The US had reportedly agreed to release Pollard as a gesture to Israel ahead of an agreement extending talks between Israel and the Palestinians. But American mediator Martin Indyk's return to the US for the holiday put Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's effort to bring about Pollard's release on hold.

"It is clear now that he won't be here for the Seder," said Labor MK Nachman Shai, who heads the pro-Pollard caucus in the Knesset. "It was a great idea by Netanyahu to dramatically bring him home for the Seder. But at least the American taboo on Pollard has been removed and they are ready to release him. Now the question is only the price."

Efforts to bring about Pollard's release were complicated late Thursday by Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett's announcement that he would remove his party from the coalition if Israeli-Arab terrorists were released - even if Pollard was included in the arrangement.

"I hope our brother Jonathan Pollard will be freed from jail soon, but not via a deal that is unethical," said Bennett, whose faction endorsed his decision to threaten to quit the government coalition during a meeting at his Tel Aviv office on Friday.

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