OU Outraged at Convening of High Contracting Parties to Fourth Geneva Convention

Posted on December 4, 2001 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish synagogue organization, today expressed its outrage at the convening of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Betty Ehrenberg, Director of International Affairs, said, “The Orthodox Union deplores the convening of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, established after World War II to protect victims of war. In an obscene attempt to politicize the Convention, it is being used to attack and embarrass the Jewish state.

In July 1999, the UN General Assembly called a meeting of some of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention. The purpose of that meeting was to attempt to enforce the Convention to stop Israel from building in the “occupied Palestinian territory including Jerusalem.” This time the agenda includes alleged Israeli violations of the Convention in its treatment of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which grew out of the horrors of Nazism, have never been convened in the entire 52 year period since the Convention was adopted in 1949, not even in the face of the most horrendous violations by any other countries, including the Soviet Union, Iraq, Cambodia or Bosnia.

We are outraged by the perversion of what should be an important human rights instrument and its vicious use against Israel. This event is creating a mechanism that will be a precedent for the politicized and prejudiced application of the Geneva Convention, thereby undermining any effectiveness that it may have.

Israel acquired the West Bank and Gaza and the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1967 in a defensive war and has consistently negotiated in good faith for a peaceful settlement as demanded by UN resolutions. This insidious tactic is an attempt to circumvent the peace process and further threaten any possibility of establishing a genuine and lasting peace. We deplore this Convention going forward and praise the Bush Administration’s decision not to attend the meeting.”