On Monday, John Kerry traveled to Israel for the 11th time. He did so relating to sham peace talks. Last July they began. No progress whatever was achieved.
Kerry wants Palestinians relinquishing fundamental rights too important to sacrifice. He’s Israel’s man in Washington.
An April 29 deadline approaches. Kerry wants it extended. He wants more time for bullying and bluster.
He spent Monday in discussions with Netanyahu and Palestinian negotiators. He left Tuesday. He did so to attend day two Brussels NATO ministers talks.
He’ll return on Wednesday for further discussions. Or will he? On Tuesday evening, he said he won’t return after PLO officials said they’ll apply for membership to 15 world organizations. They include the International Criminal Court.
It’s their legal right to do so. Kerry isn’t pleased. He wants Palestinians denied all rights. Talks will continue, he said. It’s “up to the parties” to make progress, he added.
Speculation grows about an imminent Pollard release. In 1985, he was arrested. He’s an American convicted of spying for Israel.
He’s the only person in US history sentenced to life imprisonment for spying on an ally. Customary punishment is 10 years except in cases involving a US agent’s death.
Or with regard to “nuclear weaponry . . . war plans, communications intelligence or cryptographic information.” According to a CIA 1987 damage assessment, Pollard wasn’t asked to spy on US military activities.
Just collect US information on Arab states, Soviet Russia and Pakistan, especially key weapons systems.
Israel asked for a signals intelligence manual. They wanted it to monitor Soviet advisers in Syria.
CIA’s assessment said Israelis “never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities or equipment.”
Pollard was voluntarily willing to supply information beyond what his handlers requested.
He provided over 1,500 daily Middle East and North Africa Summar(ies) (MENAS), Mediterranean Littoral Intelligence Summar(ies) (MELOS), Indian Ocean Littoral Intelligence Summar(ies), plus over 800 over stolen documents on other targets.
CIA’s assessment suggested his personal life and professional behavior warranted alerting his superiors about a potential security risk.
Naval intelligence Task Force 168 was involved in HUMINT (human intelligence) collection. During a 1980 assignment with the operation, Pollard made false statements.
Rafi Eitan headed Mossad’s operation to kidnap Adolph Eichmann. He was Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s terrorism advisor.
He assumed responsibility for the Pollard affair. He resigned over what happened. He’s now aged 87.
In 2006, he said Pollard provided “information of such high quality and accuracy, so good and so important to [Israel's] security [that] my desire, my appetite to get more and more material overcame me.”
US officials said documents he collected would have measured 6 x 6 feet wide and 10 feet high.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “Pollard was convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence. I do not have any update for you on his status.”
Hardline Israeli officials said releasing Palestinian prisoners they want incarcerated is too high a price for his freedom.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said he’d quit Netanyahu’s coalition government if they’re freed. Combining it with Pollard’s release doesn’t matter, he stressed.
On April 1, Haaretz headlined “Senior Israeli official: Deal on settlement freeze for Pollard’s release nearly sealed.”
Unnamed “senior Israeli officials” said Kerry and Netanyahu sealed “most . . . details of the deal to extend peace talks,” Haaretz reported.
Palestinians were blackmailed to accept. They were bullied to do so. Disobeying Washington means unspecified consequences. Terms allegedly agreed on include:
- Palestinians extending talks another year;
- legitimate UN diplomatic moves they’re entitled to pursue won’t follow;
- Washington will release Pollard before Passover begins on April 14;
- Israel will release 26 more Palestinian prisoners; they’ll include 14 Israeli Arab citizens;
- another 400 close to completing their imprisonments will be freed; choices exclude sick prisoners and significant political ones supporters demand be released;
- for the next eight months, Israel will freeze most settlement construction, government tenders, and marketing of lands and planning except for East Jerusalem;
Fact check: Settlement expansions continue unabated. It’s longstanding Israeli policy. Netanyahu demands it.
Previous announced freezes were Big Lies. Netanyahu’s promises rang hollow. They’re no different now.
His word isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. He can’t be trusted. He’s like Obama. He’s a serial liar. He says one thing. He does another. Expect no policy change going forward.
“Who is Jonathan Pollard,” asked Haaretz? As a student in 1970, he first visited Israel. He came as part of a Weizmann Institute science program.
On September 19, 1979, US Navy Field Operational Intelligence Office’s Anti-Terrorism Alert Center hired him as an analyst.
In 1984, Israeli Air Force veteran Aviam Sella recruited him to spy on America. He was told Washington denies Israel vital national security related information it needs.
On November 21, 1985 he was arrested. It was on suspicion of spying for Israel. In 1987, he was convicted on one espionage charge.
Because his crime occurred before November 1, 1987, he’s eligible for parole after 30 years confinement. It’s provided good conduct warrants doing so.
Under these terms, he can be freed on November 21, 2015. At his lawyer’s request, Israel granted him citizenship in 1995. In 1998, he admitted spying for Israel for the first time.
Many Israelis consider him a national hero. They call his sentence disproportionately harsh.
He acted out of loyalty to Israel, they say. He meant America no harm. He obtained documents on countries other than his own. Numerous Israeli prime ministers lobbied for his release.
According to US officials, he did more damage to America than people realize. Admiral Thomas Brooks (ret.) claims Edward Snowden alone exceeded it.
He said he obtained information on US collection methods. He claimed an estimated 1.7 million documents dealing with US surveillance capabilities and those of its adversaries.
During Clinton’s presidency, then CIA chief George Tenet threatened to resign if he was released.
In 1999, Seymour Hersh said Soviet Russia might have obtained information he sent Israel. Former US naval intelligence officers said the volume he provided alone warranted his long-term incarceration.
To force Palestinian negotiators to accept what no legitimate ones would consider, Washington may be willing to release him.
At stake is getting Netanyahu to agree on sticky issues he can later renege on.
Note: Hours after he allegedly agreed to freeze most government tenders, Israel issued 708 new residential ones beyond the Green Line. It’s on stolen Palestinian land.
Another promise made. Another broken. This one perhaps in record time. In 2013, lawless West Bank settlement starts more than doubled.
Expect 2014 repeating what happened or exceeding it. Israel rages to steal as much Palestinian land. It wants it as quickly as possible.
It wants all valued Judea and Samaria territory colonized for Jews only. It wants Palestinians ethnically cleansed.
It wants them confined to worthless isolated Bantustans. Ideally it wants them gone altogether.
It wants the worst of occupation harshness continued. It wants Jews alone given rights. It wants Muslims ruthlessly persecuted. It wants war, not peace.
It remains to be seen how Palestinian negotiators react to the latest betrayal. If past is prologue, expect business as usual to continue. Collaborators operate this way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.” Visit his blog at sjlendman.blogspot.com . Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.