The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish synagogue organization, today condemned the comments made by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in which he said that Israel’s “occupation” of the territories is “illegal.”
This provocative remark is a distortion of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which call for a settlement to be negotiated between the parties, not by the UN, that would result in secure and defensible borders. Israel’s administering of these territories, acquired in a defensive war in 1967, does not violate international law. Kofi Annan’s criticism of Israel’s use of force in her self-defense is unfortunate and deplorable and can only encourage continued attacks on Israeli citizens and anti-Israel activity at the United Nations. Israel has been exercising tremendous restraint since the beginning of the campaign of violence that the Palestinian Authority has been waging. She has the right to defend herself when she is attacked, as all nations do, and it is the responsibility of the United Nations to recognize this, not condemn her for it. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to stop the terror and cease the violence in accordance with the commitments that they have made. We call on Secretary General Annan to avoid judgments and remarks that encourage the one-sided condemnations of Israel we have sadly come to expect from the United Nations.