The New York Times’ editorial on Wednesday called the idea of using Jonathan Pollard as a bargaining chip for peace talks “a lamentable sign of America’s desperation to keep both sides talking.”
The newspaper does not dictate to Obama, but it more often than not reflects his thinking, or the other way around.
In this case, it is questionable if Obama was thinking, and the Times was unusually harsh in its criticism of him and his administration.
It stated that the proposal came from Washington, although it is not known whether the White House or Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu initiated the idea. It may be a moot issue because the general reaction in the United States has been negative, and the Palestinian Authority apparently shot it down.
Mahmoud Abbas and his aides reportedly were furious after hearing about the idea because there is no way they will let Israel get Pollard while arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti remains in an Israeli prison cell.
The emergence of the convicted spy Jonathan Pollard as a bargaining chip in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations is a lamentable sign of America’s desperation to keep both sides talking. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians can be achieved only if they want it for themselves, something that is very much in doubt right now.
The editorial called the proposals a “bad idea [that] would do nothing to advance progress on the core issues of a peace deal.”