Israeli-Palestinian talks heading nowhere and expected to stay on course

The New York Times reports: Officials involved in the fraught Israeli-Palestinian peace talks said on Tuesday that an agreement was near on extending the negotiations through 2015 in exchange for the release of Jonathan J. Pollard, an American serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. The agreement would also include the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including citizens of Israel, and a partial freeze on construction in West Bank settlements.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel hammered out details of the emerging deal in meetings here that began Monday night and continued early on Tuesday. The agreement was awaiting approval from the White House regarding Mr. Pollard as well as from President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. The timing remained unclear: The release of Arab-Israeli prisoners, among other things, would be subject to a vote by the Israeli cabinet, and no meeting has yet been scheduled.

“My assumption would be you would only schedule a meeting when a deal is finalized,” one senior official briefed on the situation said, insisting on anonymity under Mr. Kerry’s rule that details of the negotiations not be discussed publicly. “There is an emerging deal. It’s not finalized, it’s emerging.” [Continue reading…]

The Associated Press reports: A member of the U.S. Parole Commission says convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has waived a planned parole hearing.

Commissioner Patricia Smoot says the hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday.

A parole commission administrator, Stephen Husk, says the hearing was to have been held at the federal prison in Butner, N.C., and that Pollard, who is imprisoned there, would have attended. Husk declined further comment.

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