RAMALLAH, West Bank —
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu long has lobbied for an early release of Pollard, an American Jew who has served nearly 30 years for spying for Israel.
Separately, Palestinian officials have said Israel offered to show "restraint" on settlement building, including suspending government tenders for new construction, if talks are extended into 2015.
The Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said such an offer is largely meaningless because thousands of settlement apartments have already been planned or are under construction. The Palestinians seek a complete settlement freeze if negotiations are to be extended.
On Monday, Israel renewed a call for contractor bids on 708 homes in Gilo, an Israeli settlement in east Jerusalem, said Hagit Ofran of Peace Now.
Ofran questioned the timing of the tenders, which were originally published in November. She said she suspected it was done to "make problems" in the faltering Israeli-Palestinians negotiations.
Arik Ben Shimon, a spokesman for Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, said the tenders were reissued because earlier calls for bids failed to attract contractors. He said the timing was unrelated to the talks.
The Palestinians, along with much of the international community, view settlement construction as illegal and an obstacle to the creation of their hoped-for state. Israel has built dozens of settlements, now home to more than 550,000 Israelis, on occupied lands.
Associated Press writer Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem and Matthew Lee in Brussels contributed to this report.