The Washington Post is reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to extend a freeze on new settlements in exchange for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. It is an astonishing offer, if true, since the settlements have long been a major barrier to peace negotiations but under this deal would be frozen in exchange for a spy’s release. It would seem to undermine the substantive arguments in favor of such settlements.
National security officials in Washington have nixed the idea, noting that Pollard not only spied for Israel and also sold secrets to South Africa and advertised his services to Pakistan. They also note that Israel used some of the documents from Pollard as barter for favors from Moscow.