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September 21, 2014 | 26th Elul 5774

Reform Movement Focuses on Follow Up To UN Vote Upgrading Palestinian Status

New Policy Statement:
Condemns Palestinians for Unilateral UN Action;
Calls for American Leadership;
Opposes Immediate Punitive Responses;
Calls on Israel to Halt Plans for Expansion in West Bank E1 area

Contact: Annette Powers
apowers@urj.org
212-650-4154



December 3, 2012, New York, NY  – In a new policy statement adopted by the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the nation's largest Jewish denomination addressed the full array of issues flowing from the decision of the UN to upgrade the official status of the Palestinians.

The statement, adopted overwhelmingly after a full debate by more than 200 board members at yesterday's meeting of the Union of Reform Judaism's North American Board of Trustees, "Condemn[s] the Palestinian Authority for the unilateral decision to seek upgraded status at the United Nation as counterproductive to the cause of peace, and express[es] ... deep concern to those countries that supported the upgraded status, and to those who abstained." 

The resolution, which is available here, was supported by the Zionist arms of the Reform Movement – ARZA and ARZA Canada.  The Central Conference of American Rabbis fully endorsed the resolution today.
 
The resolution "Commend[s] the U.S. and Canada for their forceful and consistent efforts to prevent consideration of, and for their votes against, the General Assembly's decision to upgrade the Palestinian's status.  It further urges the "United States and Canada to act assertively in facilitating a return to negotiations and to take other steps that would strengthen the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution."

The URJ and the CCAR also reiterated longstanding concern about Israeli settlement building, and expressed opposition to the Israeli government's plans to move forward with building in the critical E1 area.  The resolutions note that "Settlements in E1--the area connecting Jerusalem to a city which is one of the larger Israeli settlements--would split the Ramallah region off from Bethlehem, effectively cutting the West Bank in two and making a contiguous Palestinian state virtually impossible."  It further said that "Building there makes progress toward peace far more challenging, and is difficult to reconcile with the Government of Israel's stated commitment to a two-state solution.  At the same time, we recognize that this week's action--beginning the permitting process for new settlement--is only the first step in a long, and by no means inevitable, process."

Comments

Alan Friedenberg

December 4, 2012
02:41 PM

Building in the E1 Area

When you make aliyah, you can run the Israeli government. Until that time, perhaps you should worry more about what happens in your diaspora.

  Reply

Howard Siegel

December 4, 2012
05:28 PM

The Palestinians have to learn one way or another there are consequences for their actions. Settlement expansion is one. Negotiate in good faith and they might not shoot themselves in the foot.

  Reply

Eli Reuven

December 4, 2012
05:59 PM

Settlements are not the issue.

I can't believe that you still believe that so-called settlements are an issue in the Israeli-Arab conflict. Do you believe this because the Arabs say it is an issue? The issue has been clear since the first effort to terminate Israel's existence in 1948. The issue is simply that we Jews are there, and the leadership of the Arab world wants Israel and Jews gone from the Middle East. The Iranian leadership feels the same, and the current Turkish leadership is moving in that direction.

  Reply

Emily

December 5, 2012
07:58 PM

Thank you for condemning the settlements! As a young progressive Jew, I've been increasingly troubled by American Jewish organizations' refusal to stand up and criticize Israel when it takes actions that work against peace and justice. It is so heartening to hear the URJ voice its opposition to the settlements in E1.

  Reply

Burton Kopulsky

December 5, 2012
08:19 PM

We should not criticize building in area E-1

I am very dissappointed with this resolution that incorrectly describes the effects of Israel building in the E1 area. This area links an important Jewish area that would be kept in a peace settlement with Jerusalem. No Israeli government has ever advocated turning this area over and abandoning Ma'aleh Adumin. The width of a potential arab state east of Ma'aleh Adumin is 15 km which is no narrower than the borders of Israel at their narrow point if there is a potential arab state in the lands captured in 1967. CAMERA gives all the details here: http://blog.camera.org/archives/2012/12/e1_fallacy_returns.html. At a time when Fatah is telling it's own people in Arabic that Israel evacuating settlements is the first step towards destroying Israel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ViFr3oIM4M&feature=youtu.be) is a real shame to see an organization that represents so much that is good in American Jewry take a position that is divorced from the reality of the situation.

  Reply

Bruce Hirsch

December 6, 2012
09:10 AM

May Israel be a light unto the nations and enjoy peace and prosperity. Welcoming Palestinian statehood and reconciliation marginalizes hate and terror and is an opportunity to channel the best ideals of our tradition.

  Reply

HARVEY KURR

December 7, 2012
10:42 AM

THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL KNOWS WHAT IS GOOD FOR THEIR COUNTRY AND CITIZENS. URJ AND THE REST OF THE WORLD DON'T KNOW ALL THE INNER WORKINGS AND REASONS FOR THEIR DECISIONS TO EXPAND SETTLEMENTS IN JERUESALEM.
THIS IS A COUNTRY AND A POLITICAL ISSUE WITHIN ISRAEL AND THEIR DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT WILL DO WHAT IS RIGHT.

  Reply

Geoff

December 9, 2012
12:57 PM

RE: Building in the E1 Area

<dl><hr/><dt>Originally posted by Anonymous User:</dt><dd>When you make aliyah, you can run the Israeli government. Until that time, perhaps you should worry more about what happens in your diaspora.</dd><hr/></dl>

Alan -- I have no intention of moving to Israel. I am an American and choose to make my life here, with my family, which also lives here. That being said, Israel's position on expanding the settlements does affect us, and we have a right to discuss us and will continue to do so. Let me say that if I believed that the settlement expansion was vital to Israel's survival, I would be more sympathetic with the problem, but I do not believe that is the case. On the contrary, the expansion of the settlements is almost inexplicable because it definitely is a serious sticking point in negotiations which might lead to peace, which is in Israel's long-term interests. The only explanation for the position of the current government of Israel is that it is necessary for the survival of the current coalition.

  Reply


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