The United Nations has issued a report on the situation of women in advance of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated today. The UN report, which was issued for the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (March 14-24), described the lives of Palestinian women for the period October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. The document blames Israel for domestic violence suffered by Palestinian women.
 
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, has called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon revise the report disseminated by his office. The report says “overcrowded living conditions and a lack of privacy” in refugee camps causes “psychological distress among camp residents.” Combined with “the unstable political and security situation and discriminatory gender stereotypes and norms,” it ostensibly leads to violence against women. The report adds, “Refugee camps in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are among the most densely populated urban environments in the world and the conditions in these camps have deteriorated over decades, in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
 
It says, “Specifically for women and girls, this overcrowding limits their mobility, privacy and access to recreational spaces.” Section 10 of the report described the November 2014 terror attack in Jerusalem’s Har Nof synagogue, where five Israelis and two Palestinians were killed, as a mere “incident."
 
In his letter to Ban, Ambassador Danon wrote: “This horrific episode was not an ‘incident.’ It was a carefully planned terror attack on a synagogue during morning prayers.” He wrote, “By equating the ‘two Palestinian men’ who carried out the massacre and the ‘five Israeli men’ whom they slaughtered, those with axes in their hands are treated in the same way as those holding prayer books.” The diplomat added, “This report is a distortion of the truth and it should be amended immediately.”
 
The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meets every year to discuss women and gender equality. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” It addresses UN goals such as education for girls, eliminating Muslim female genital mutilation, as well as violence directed at girls and women.
 
Since the report will receive significant attention during the conference, Israel’s UN mission said, it may create a situation in which Israel is the only UN member-state singled out for its treatment of women.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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