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Strong Orthodox Opposition to Palestinian State

Orthodox Jewry in the United States is "fairly solid" in its opposition to a PLO state in the heartland of Israel.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/25/2010, 6:33 PM / Last Update: 11/25/2010, 5:55 PM

palwatch.org

Orthodox Jewry in the United States is "fairly solid" in its opposition to a PLO state in the heartland of Israel - though a slight crack has been noted.

For instance, the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) has urged American political leaders to reconsider its "two-state solution" policy. The NCYI also initiated a grass roots effort aimed at “enlightening” U.S. leaders regarding the dangers of pushing for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

In late 2007, when the future of the Jerusalem appeared to be on the table at the Annapolis talks, a broad coalition of Orthodox organizations wrote a letter to 2,000 American rabbis, stating: "This is not the time to discuss the dangers of a terrorist Palestinian State as a neighbor to Israel. Today, we must raise our voices at the thought of losing our united capital of Jerusalem…”  The coalition included the National Council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, the Rabbinical Council of America, Emunah Women of America, AFSI, Hineni, AJOP (Outreach), NCSY, Poalei Agudath Israel of America, ZOA, and more. 

Just this month, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) criticized plans reportedly being pushed by the Obama Administration to turn Judea and Samaria into a Palestinian state, with parts of eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to be “leased” by Israel from said state. The organization asserted that such a state “in which there is incitement to hatred and murder against Jews in PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps; terrorist groups not outlawed; terrorists not arrested; a Palestinian society that supports terror against Israel and doesn’t accept Israel as a Jewish state – would likely become another anti-Israel terrorist state.”

The ZOA also called upon the Obama Administration to publicly declare that it will veto any attempt by the Palestinian Authority and its allies to have the UN Security Council pass a resolution to unilaterally establish a Palestinian state.

Similarly, the OU (Orthodox Union), at its last international convention, adopted a resolution that stated, "The Orthodox Union feels an historic obligation to preserve for the Jewish people the right to live and travel freely and safely in the land of our heritage, including the territories of Yehuda and Shomron [Judea and Samaria]... Thus, while we strive for security and peace, we are skeptical of any policy that relinquishes part of Eretz Yisrael without obtaining both."

A Crack?
This week, however, a slight crack in this strong Orthodox policy alliance against a Palestinian state was opened, even if not very noticeably. It occurred in an op-ed written by Nathan Diament, the Public Policy Director of the OU, for the New York Daily News, entitled, “Jerusalem Must Remain Undivided.” 

While making a solidly compelling case for keeping Jerusalem wholly under Israeli sovereignty, Diament allowed that the OU actually supports the two-state solution. “While we support a two-state solution that guarantees Israel's security and Jewish character,” he wrote, “the choices required to bring us to that point must be grounded in reality.” Contacted by Israel National News, Diament responded that the OU “hasn't changed its position,” that a “passing phrase in my op-ed is not a reversal or change in that position,” and that it was just “an unfortunate articulation.” He did not offer to retract it, however.

 
OU leaders contacted by INN about this apparent contradiction of official OU policy by a top official did not respond. Others, however, in other email correspondence, left the off-the-record impression that Diament had “made a mistake.”
 
The OU, billed as America’s largest Orthodox Jewry umbrella organization, has been called upon, along with others, to “openly deplore plans promoted by the United States which clearly imply a total repudiation and [forced] elimination of Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria… Our entitlement to the Land of Israel is G-d-given. Declare to the world vocally that you as Torah Leaders of the People of Israel… do not reject our Biblical birthright… and therefore do reject, in principle, a Palestinian State.”


Opposition to Palestinian State
Opponents of the two-state solution have cited many concerns regarding the formation of yet another Arab state specifically in the heart of the Land of Israel, including: 

  • the cession of Jewish land to a foreign sovereignty, including religious, historic, political and security ramifications;
  • the fate of the 320,000 Jews who live in Judea and Samaria - whether they reside in “settlement blocs” that the PA has never agreed will remain Israeli, or in the dozens of other towns that much of the world feels “certain” will come under PA rule; 
  • security dangers on many planes;
  • the gradual militarization of the state, even if it starts out demilitarized;
  • fear that Judea and Samaria will be taken over by Hizbullah-Hamas-Iranian elements, as has occurred or is occurring in other areas relinquished by Israel; 
  • the future of the holy sites; 
  • the ramifications of yet another Israeli diplomatic collapse; 
  • and more.