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Israeli-Palestinian prisoner deal to revive talks

Israel and the Palestinians were on the verge of a deal to extend US-backed peace talks, a report on Israeli television said on Thursday, as deadlocked negotiations faltered. The deal, which could be finalised within "a few days", would see a final batch of Palestinian prisoners released in return for the United States freeing American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Channel 2 television said. It cited "sources in Washington" as saying that "the parties are to sign an agreement to extend negotiations beyond (their deadline of) April 29".

Israeli-Palestinian prisoner deal to revive talks

Israel and the Palestinians were on the verge of a deal to extend US-backed peace talks, a report on Israeli television said on Thursday, as deadlocked negotiations faltered. The deal, which could be finalised within "a few days", would see a final batch of Palestinian prisoners released in return for the United States freeing American-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Channel 2 television said. It cited "sources in Washington" as saying that "the parties are to sign an agreement to extend negotiations beyond (their deadline of) April 29."

A bargaining chip named Jonathan Pollard

Releasing US-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to advance the Middle East peace process is an idea that failed in the past, largely because of fierce opposition by the CIA. Pollard, now 59, was arrested in Washington in November 1985 and sentenced to life in prison for spying on the United States for Israel, which granted him citizenship in 1995. On March 31, sources close to crisis-hit peace talks said that the release of Pollard, who is said to be ailing, could lead to Israel freeing 26 Arab prisoners.

Obama weighs costs, benefits of spy release

President Barack Obama faces a classic costs versus benefits conundrum as he considers whether to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to save failing Middle East talks. On the one hand, US-born Pollard, 59, is a trump card fast losing its value given that after 28 years behind bars, he may be freed on parole anyway next year. However, the former naval intelligence analyst who turned over suitcases stuffed with US Cold War era secrets to the Israelis in the mid-1980s, is a cause celebre.

Obama weighs costs, benefits of spy release

President Barack Obama faces a classic costs versus benefits conundrum as he considers whether to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to save failing Middle East talks. On the one hand, US-born Pollard, 59, is a trump card fast losing its value given that after 28 years behind bars, he may be freed on parole anyway next year. However, the former naval intelligence analyst who turned over suitcases stuffed with US Cold War era secrets to the Israelis in the mid-1980s, is a cause celebre.

Proposed release of Israeli spy raises U.S. spies' ire

By Mark Hosenball, Patricia Zengerle and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. proposal to consider freeing a jailed Israeli spy caught many American intelligence officials off-guard and will face stiff opposition if the Obama administration decides to go ahead with it in a bid to salvage Middle East peace talks, officials said.

White House : Obama has not decided to free Pollard

President Barack Obama has so far made no decision to free US-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to boost hopes of extending peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the White House said Tuesday. The Israelis have repeatedly asked Obama and previous US presidents to release Pollard, who is serving his sentence in North Carolina for passing US secrets on Arab and Pakistani weapons to Israel during the mid 1980s.

White House: Obama has not decided to release Israeli spy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama has not made a decision to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday. "Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage and he is serving his sentence," Carney said. "I don't have any other update to provide you on Mr. Pollard's status. There are obviously a lot of things happening in that arena and I am not going to get ahead of discussions that are under way," he said.

Kerry holds fresh talks in Israel

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday held a second round of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he seeks to push forward faltering peace efforts. The breakfast meeting came after Kerry made a surprise trip to Israel to keep the talks on track amid a bitter tussle over the expected release of Palestinian prisoners. Talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas were cancelled Monday when a meeting with Netanyahu dragged on too late. Kerry met instead with the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.

Jailed Israeli spy could be key to peace talks

Jonathan Pollard, the US-born Israeli who is serving life for spying on America, has been raised as a possible key to breaking a logjam in the crisis-hit peace talks. Sources close to the talks said on Monday that there was a proposal which could see Pollard freed before the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins in mid-April. US officials have not confirmed the reports. Pollard was arrested in Washington in 1985 and condemned to life imprisonment for spying on the United States for Israel.
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