Out of 193 member nations, Israel alone was condemned for violating the rights of women when the Commission on the Status of Women convened at UN Headquarters in New York last week. The commission did not deem it necessary to similarly condemn known women’s rights violators like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan or Syria.
The gathering was the climax of a global campaign that saw thousands of people attend hundreds of conferences around the world. And its single official decision was to blame Israel for the situation of Palestinian women.
The anti-Israel motion was submitted by developing nations on behalf of the Palestinians. It was opposed only by Israel and the US. The nations of the European Union abstained.
According to the decision, “the Israeli occupation continues to be the main obstacle to Palestinian women in relation to their advancement, independence and integration in the development of their society.”
In calling for greater international intervention in preventing this phenomenon, the resolution also condemned last summer’s Gaza war, “which killed and injured thousands of civilians, including hundreds of Palestinian women and children.” It made no mention of Hamas starting the war with its reckless rocket attacks on Israel, or of the terrorists’ use of the civilian populations as a shield.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, responded to the resolution thus:
“If anyone has ever doubted that the UN is biased against Israel, today we got further proof. Of the 193 member states in this institution, dozens slaughter innocent civilians and impose discriminatory laws that marginalize women and yet they all get a free pass. The Commission on the Status of Women itself includes some of the worst violators of human rights, such as Iran and Sudan.”
Prosor further added that the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian society are easily identified as the primary violators of women’s rights in the region.
“Honor killings in the Palestinian Authority are a matter of daily occurrence, and employment of women stands at only 17%,” he pointed out. “It is time for the Palestinians to finally take responsibility for something. Their mistreatment of women is a chance to start taking responsibility. It’s not enough for the Palestinians to cynically exploit this institution; they’ve now made it their mission to turn the Commission on the Status of Women into a politically charged forum.”
Representing Israel at the commission was diplomat Nelly Shiloh (pictured), who was born in Syria. She told the gathering in Arabic:
“Our vote against this resolution is not a vote against the Palestinian woman, but rather for her. This is not the appropriate platform, and this is not the way to improve the status of the Palestinian woman. Real change will come when the Palestinian leadership takes responsibility and works for the future. The Palestinians are exploiting the podium of the UN to demonize Israel, and their behavior will not help the Palestinians in general, or the Palestinian woman in particular.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued the following response to the farcical UN decision:
“We are fighting an all-out war regarding this decision, which is further evidence of the hypocrisy and ugliness that characterizes the behavior of UN member states. Israel has contributed significantly to the advancement of the status of women in the world, in part by providing Israeli expertise to UN bodies dealing with this issue. Israel will continue to advance the status of women through various UN mechanisms, and will continue to fight the Palestinian campaign against [us] at the UN.”