In reaction to the opening session at the Annapolis Peace Conference, the following statement was issued by the leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (aka: the “Orthodox Union”) the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the United States, in reaction to the statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas, as well as the Joint Understanding of the two leaders announced by President Bush:
Amid the commendable efforts by President Bush and Secretary Rice to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict, we are deeply concerned that this latest effort has been launched with a focus more on speed than substance. The Palestinian leadership appears more committed to regaining control of Jerusalem than on restraining terrorists in both the West Bank and Gaza.
We are also concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert did not explicitly resist Palestinian President Abbas’ claim to a piece of Jerusalem. In fact, Mr. Olmert indicated in his address that “the reality created in 1967 will change greatly” and that such a process “is inevitable.” We disagree – the re-division of Jerusalem is not inevitable, nor is it necessary.
In addition, we are deeply troubled that the “Joint Understanding” issued by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders refers to a mutual commitment to “confront terrorism…whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis.” There has been no Israeli action against Palestinians that can possibly be equated with the suicide bombings, roadside shootings, or rocket attacks that have been inflicted on thousands of Israelis in the past several years. The onus for restraining terror
is squarely on the Palestinians – and they have so far failed miserably to do so.
For further commentary and news about the views and advocacy by the Orthodox Union on Annapolis Conference related issues, please visit http://www.oujerusalem.org/.