OU Objects to Letter by Former US Officials Against Israeli Settlements

Posted on December 16, 1996 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America objects strongly to a letter being circulated by former US government officials against the establishment of new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. This letter, signed by former Secretaries of State James A. Baker, Cyrus Vance and Lawrence Eagleberger and former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft and Frank Carlucci urges the Administration to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to withdraw his recent announcement of financial support to Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.

Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig and George Schultz refrained from signing the letter.

Mandell I. Ganchrow, MD, President, Orthodox Union said:

“We view this letter as a concerted effort to intervene in the Middle East peace process in a heavy-handed, one-sided manner that is inclined to prejudice the outcome of the negotiations. This manner and nature of criticism of the Israeli approach to settlements by past US administrations has never proven productive in helping to bring the parties closer together to achieve peace and has served as an undue and inappropriate pressure upon Israel.

The Orthodox Union strongly supports the democratically elected government of Israel and has always supported the right of Jews who choose to exercise their historic right to live and travel safely throughout the historic borders of the land of Israel, regardless of the ultimate political formula adopted for these areas.”

“This letter and its negative characterization of the settlements and of the Israeli government’s attempt to correct past policy by providing aid previously and unfairly denied to the residents of these areas wrongly reflects the Oslo Accords which do not address settlements or settlement activity.

We believe it violates America’s constructive role as an unbiased and impartial facilitator in the Middle East peace process at such a delicate time in the peace negotiations.”