WASHINGTON (JTA) — An Orthodox Jewish group criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton’s statement that the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is "unhelpful."
In a letter to the U.S. secretary of state, the Orthodox Union expressed its "disappointment and disagreement" with Clinton’s statement Wednesday that the planned demolition of 88 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem is "unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road map.’ " Clinton said she intended to raise the issue with the Israeli government.
The OU letter noted that Israel is the sole democracy in the Middle East and "thus possesses a feature integral to democratic nations — an open and fair legal system."
"Thus it is not only appropriate but necessary for the rule of law to govern. As such, illegally constructed homes in East Jerusalem should be removed, and any suggestion to the contrary mocks the laws of a just and democratic state."
The letter adds that "the enforcement of similar Israeli laws has been urged by the United States regarding illegally constructed Israeli homes in other parts of Israel."
Palestinians argue that they cannot receive proper building permits from Israeli authorities and that Israel is trying to assert control over Jerusalem through the demolitions.