The Orthodox Union is expressing its "disappointment and disagreement" with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement Wednesday that Israel’s demolition of 88 Palestinian homes it says were built illegally is "unhelpful" and that she intends to raise the issue with the government of Israel. The letter from four of the organization’s leaders state that Israel’s "open and fair legal system" make it "necessary" for the "rule of law to govern," and thus the homes must be removed. Here’s the O.U. letter:
March 4, 2009
Hon. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The State Department
Dear Secretary Clinton,
As you visit the holy city of Jerusalem – which you have long recognized is the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel and the Jewish People — for the first time as our Secretary of State, we write to you to express our disappointment and disagreement with your statements regarding illegally constructed Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.
You stated that Israel’s plans to demolish more than eighty such illegally constructed homes are "unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road map’" and that it is an issue you "intend to raise with the government of Israel…"
Madame Secretary, as you well know, Israel is the sole democracy in the Mideast 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. We note that the enforcement of similar Israeli laws has been urged by the United States regarding illegally constructed Israeli homes in other parts of Israel.
We hope and expect that as Secretary of State you will champion democracy and the rule of law throughout the globe, and not sacrifice such bedrock American values in the furtherance of competing diplomatic goals.
We request that you re-assess and clarify your statement on this matter. We would be pleased and honored to discuss this matter with you further if this would be helpful to you.
Stephen Savitsky, President
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Exec. Vice President
Mark Bane, Chairman – Public Policy
Nathan J. Diament, Director – Public Policy