O.U. criticizes Olmert’s speech

The Orthodox Union is criticizing Ehud Olmert’s speech and the “Joint Understanding” reached with the Palestinians.

The O.U. issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the organization was “concerned” that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “did not explicitly resist Palestinian President Abbas’ claim to a piece of Jerusalem.” The organization took issue with Olmert’s assertion in his speech Tuesday 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,” said the O.U., which is playing a lead role in a campaign to head off any plan that would hand over part of the city to the Palestinians.

The O.U., which claims to represent about 1,000 Orthodox congregations, also criticized the joint statement for including 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 O.U. stated. “The onus for restraining terror is squarely on the Palestinians – and they have so far failed miserably to do so.”

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