Supporters of Jonathan Pollard, the civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy who has served 30 years in prison for passing classified documents to Israel, dismiss the notion that the setting of a parole date for Pollard represents any form of good will from the administration since the full statutory time will have been served. But the struggle for a positive gesture from the White House is not over: it now shifts to seeing whether President Obama can be convinced to allow Pollard – who was granted Israeli citizenship during his incarceration – to leave immediately for Israel upon his release on November 21. If not, the 60-year old Pollard, whose health is failing, will be required to spend an additional five-years on parole in the US. The White House said on Tuesday that President Obama has no intention of allowing Pollard to leave for Israel without serving the additional five years, a move already being characterized as “mean spirited” and “vindictive.” Both the administration and Pollard supporters accept that his release date is not connected to the current fight over ratification of the Iranian nuclear deal.
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