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US 'spying' on Israel revives call to free Pollard

JERUSALEM--Israel's intelligence minister called reported U.S. wiretapping of an Israeli premier “unacceptable” amid renewed calls Sunday for the release of jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

“We have of late exceptional intelligence relations with the United States and the British, it's almost one intelligence community,” Yuval Steinitz told private television Channel 2's “Meet the Press” late Saturday.

“Under such conditions I think it is unacceptable,” Steinitz said.

“We do not spy on the president of the United States or the White House. The rules have been made clear. We have made certain commitments on the matter and we honor them.”

The New York Times reported Friday that in monitoring more than 1,000 targets in upwards of 60 countries between 2008 to 2011, U.S. and British intelligence agencies tapped the communications of then Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert, among other foreign leaders, according to secret documents revealed by intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

MP Nachman Shai, a diplomat in Israel's Washington embassy in the early 1980s, said Sunday that he had called a debate on the affair in an influential parliamentary committee.

“Our working assumption was that we are being listened to, including by the Americans, but that doesn't make it permissible or... ethical, and at the end of the day, when it is discovered, it cannot be ignored,” he told public radio.

“I have asked for a debate by the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee,” he added.

“We need to know if the U.S. listened in to us, what it listened to and what should be our response.”

Shai said Israel and its close strategic ally had agreed not to spy upon one another in the wake of the 1985 arrest in Washington of former U.S. Navy analyst Pollard, who gave Israel thousands of secret documents about U.S. espionage in the Arab world.

'Cell door should be opened'

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