Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

July 9, 2010

How About a Pollard Spy Exchange?

Filed under: Uncategorized — eugenebird @ 11:26 am

What should Israel give up in exchange for Pollard, its master spy in US Naval intelligence? The US supposedly has no spies in Israel, so the obvious exchange would be Pollard for Marwan Barghouti, who is currently serving a life sentence in Israel and is a hero to Palestinians.

The recent Russian-American spy exchange was easy, but it was also relatively unimportant; it merely served to maintain friendly relations between the two countries. A free Marwan Barghouti, on the other hand, would be an ideal personality to bring the Palestinians together.

This is not a facetious suggestion. Barghouti has been used by Israel before–while in jail–to negotiate the eighteen point agreement between Fatah and Hamas to jointly govern the West Bank and Gaza.

Israelis often complain that there is no ‘partner’ on the Palestinian side. A Pollard-Barghouti exchange would provide one. This is exactly what the Mitchell/Obama proximity talks need.

Bibi Netanyahu raised a ruckus at the Wye River negotiations in 1997 when he demanded the release of Pollard as the final price for agreeing to sign a partial withdrawal agreement. He held out for two hours the morning the agreement was to be signed in the East room of the White House. President Clinton initially agreed to release Pollard, but the CIA director said that he would resign if this happened.

We know Prime Minister Sharon also asked for the release of Pollard, who would be a hero in Israel, but US Naval Intelligence is deeply angered by Pollard’s spying and copying of highly classified documents, which led to his conviction twenty years ago.

So why not exchange an aging Pollard for a new and vigorous leader of Palestine who would carry weight with the Palestinian public and be able to create a real negotiating ‘partner’ for Israel in the proximity talks?



  1. It’s a great idea, but I doubt Israel would touch it. The last thing Israel wants is a dynamic leader to galvanize the Palestinians and provide a rallying point for them to come together. He would give them a source of hope to counter the endless humiliation that Israel hopes will drive them to despair and acquiescence in the loss of their land. Barghouti is political dynamite. Keeping him in limbo as a prisoner is the best possible solution to a very dangerous threat. Once released, Israel could neither target him for assassination or silence him. He is a man for a people for a people without a man.

    Comment by Clif Brown — July 9, 2010 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  2. mr.gene: you say the obvious exchange would be pollard for barghouti… sounds good, but the problem is barghouti is a pal not an american….why should we pick up the tab for barghouti’s release?…i too would love to see barghouti unite the pals….pollard is were he is for a very good reason… remember, we are the givers and the isrealis are the takers…let the pals. trade gilad shalit for barghouti…regarding sgt.shalit, had i just landed from ”mars” i would have guessed that gilad was trained as a singer of songs. in order to serenade the pals…. also ,just by the way the isrealis are screaming for the release of their young soldier, who would have thought that these same isrealis have 9000 pal. men, woman and children in captivity!…carl scala

    Comment by carl, queens,ny — July 12, 2010 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

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