The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America is deeply dismayed by President Clinton’s remarks concerning Palestinian settlement rights.
Peace in the Middle East is deeply desired by everyone, but impatience, pressure, and misleading statements will defeat its possibility. The expressed comments on an especially sensitive and difficult issue that has been designated for final status deliberations to be resolved between the parties in the Middle East peace negotiations are inconsistent with and harmful to the balanced posture that America has steadfastly tried to maintain.
The substance of the remarks are as unfortunate as their timing. To consistently condemn Israeli settlements that allow for Jews to live anywhere while stating that Palestinians should be permitted to live anywhere they desire establishes an American double standard and bias that can endanger the safety of Israel. Furthermore, it considerably erodes America’s credibility as an honest broker thereby making the achievement of peace even more difficult.
We hope that President Clinton will publicly and personally, in the same fashion, withdraw his injudicious remarks and allow the newly elected Israeli government to seek peace with security in direct negotiations with the Palestinians. This will be in accordance with long-standing American policy.