Several top United State’s senators have vocally expressed their opposition to a deal proposed on Tuesday that would release Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the release of over 400 Palestinian prisoners and terrorists and a partial settlement construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.
Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst, has been imprisoned in the U.S. under charges of spying for Israel. Pollard was found selling classified documents to the Israeli government. He is serving a life sentence and is currently in his 30th year of imprisonment.
The Daily Beast reported that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said they would oppose the deal, no matter the terms.
“I think he’s done a lot of harm to America and I just don’t think he should be released,” Chambliss said.
Feinstein believes that Pollard should not be released unless some important breakthroughs are made in the overall Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“This was a major betrayal and I’ve followed it over the years. It’s one thing if there’s an agreement. It’s another thing totally if there isn’t,” Feinstein said. “It’s hard for me to see how that would jump-start the Mideast peace talks.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called the deal “disgusting” and said that Pollard’s release should not be contingent on a peace agreement. Pollard’s release, according to McCain, “smacks of desperate diplomacy.”
“It’s disgusting. I favor his release, I think he’s served long enough, but to be used in this fashion, it’s disgraceful,” the former presidential candidate said.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), while not vocally for or against the deal, said, “I think he did a very bad thing. He deserved to serve some jail time. The amount of time he served in jail is disproportionate.”
Over the last several years, top U.S. officials, including former CIA Director James Woolsey and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, have called for Pollard’s release.
On Tuesday, Pollard waived a parole hearing in rejection and protest of the proposal to swap him with terrorists.