Two past American envoys to Israel are now backing the campaign calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

Samuel Lewis and Thomas Pickering previously opposed releasing Pollard, an American born spy for Israel who was made an Israeli citizen after his arrest and imprisonment.

Now, the ex-ambassadors, who have not been active since the 80’s, are changing their tune.

“I think that achieving an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement is far more important than the continuation of Pollard’s incarceration,” said Pickering, arguing the concession could pave the way for a more amiable peace process.

“He betrayed us, and I am glad he sat in prison, but 28 years is time enough,” Lewis added. “Even if he may get out two years from now, I think there is something compelling about the appeal by more than 100 members of Knesset to [President] Obama to free him now.”

Pickering was ambassador from 1985, shortly before Pollard was arrested, to 1988, while Lewis was the ambassador from 1977 to 1985, the year Pollard was arrested.

Since his capture, Jewish and Israeli groups have petitioned for Pollard’s release, claiming his life sentence amounts to a harsh and unusual punishment.

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