Israel Blamed for Palestinian Authority’s Abuse of Women
A United Nations agency recently condemned Israel for its “occupation” of Palestinian women.
Commentators have noted the blatant hypocrisy of the UN singling out Israel while ignoring countries that wantonly violate women’s rights. But nobody seems to have noticed the most remarkable aspect of the controversy: 98% of the women in question do not even live under Israeli rule. They reside in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority.
The 45-member United Nations Commission on the Status of Women adopted a resolution declaring “that the Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society.” The resolution called for international aid “to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families.”
If there is such a crisis, it’s certainly not the fault of Israel. In 1995, Israel withdrew from the cities in the West Bank (Judea-Samaria) where more than 95% of the Palestinians in that region reside. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, leaving 100% of those Palestinians under the rule of the PA and then, later, of Hamas.
Thus, about 98% of the Palestinian women whose “occupation” the UN is decrying are being occupied by the PA, not by Israel.
Is it conceivable that the member-nations of the UN women’s commission simply do not know where Palestinian women reside? That seems implausible. It’s more likely that they are simply obsessed with hating Israel, and they know they can count on the news media, the State Department, and others to simply go along with it.
Guess who sponsored the resolution? The very same Palestinian Authority that is doing the occupying. South Africa co-sponsored the resolution, which passed by a vote of 27 to 2 with 13 abstentions. The U.S. and Israel cast the only negative votes.
Not surprisingly, the UN Commission on the Status of Women had nothing to say about the treatment of women by Commission members such as Iran, where women are third-class citizens, or Sudan, the perpetrator of the Darfur genocide. Just last month, the New York Times reported the mass rape of more than 200 women and girls in Darfur by Sudanese soldiers.
For some reason, the Obama Administration never says a word about the status of women in areas ruled by the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prossor, pointed out that the employment rate of women in PA territory is just 17%. Shouldn’t the White House be concerned?
“Honor killings” of Palestinian women, which should be at the top of the agenda of any commission that claims to be concerned about the status of women, are likewise never discussed.
These cases involve Palestinian men murdering female relatives whom they suspect of violating Islamic fundamentalist morals. Some of the women are believed to have committed adultery or other sexual offenses. Sometimes their crime is that they dressed “provocatively” or were seen in the company of an unauthorized boyfriend. They are murdered in order to “preserve” the family’s honor.
In 2012,13 such murders were reported in the West Bank territories controlled by Palestinian Authority. In 2013, the number of victims more than doubled, to 27, according to the Washington Post. And those are just the ones that we know about.
The Post noted that in addition to killings over suspected morality violations, sometimes the violence is a way to hide the fact that the women were raped or molested by their relatives. In other cases, the “honor killings” are actually related to inheritance disputes or simply “the desire to punish female independence.”
The injustice does not end there. It extends to the way the Palestinian legal system deals with the murderers. The Palestinian Authority’s official legal code actually includes laws “that guarantee light sentences for honor killings,” the Post pointed out. Even when the killers are punished, “pardons and suspended sentences are common.”
There’s no doubt about it – Palestinian women who live under occupation are victims of discrimination and violence. But it’s their fellow-Palestinians who are doing the occupying.
Moshe Phillips is president and Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of America, Philadelphia, and both are candidates on the Religious Zionist slate (www.VoteTorah.org) in the World Zionist Congress elections.