By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
There is a better chance now than there has been in a very long time that Jonathan Pollard may be freed.
Now that Prism, the NSA program made public by Edward Snowden, outted the United Sttaes for spying on Israel at the highest level, Israel is hoping to use the information as leverage with which to free Pollard.
Israel is attaching Pollard to the Palestinian peace process. They hope to link concessions that they make to the Palestinians - concessions that will appease the United States - with progress on the Pollard front.
Israel will push the US about the double standard. You can spy on us and we can't spy on you? We were caught years ago, you were caught now. We will drop the issue if you let our spy go.
Another important factor in this equation is President Obama who, until now, has not weighed in on Pollard.
Fundamentally, Obama is motivated by fairness. He is all about being fair and being equal.
The publicity about the US spying on Israel may provide the impetus he needed to help Pollard.
The stumbling block is the defense establishment. The defense establishment is dead set against it.
The Constitution, however, provides for situations such as the one Pollard is embroiled in and the Constitution put the decision making power totally in the office of the president.
It is written in Article II, Section 2, Clause 1:
"and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."
Since 1900, 20,000 presidential pardons have been issued. A pardon is not the only option. Vacating the verdict, clemency or commuting the sentence all fall under the right of the US President.
Now that Israel has assumed responsibility for Pollard (which for years they denied) swaps can occur. Recently, a US citizen was returned from Russia in exchange for several Russians and other things that Russia wanted. If Israel successfully applies the necessary pressure and the United States wants to play along Pollard can be freed through any number of scenarios.
In the end Israel is fighting for Pollard because of an essential Jewish principle: one does not leave captives.
Jonathan Pollard has done his time. And I can honestly say that at this historical juncture, Israel is willing to pay dearly for his release.
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