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        Economic and Social Council
24 December 2012

Original: English

Substantive session of 2012
General segment

Provisional summary record of the 48th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 27 July 2012, at 10 a.m.

President: Mr. de Alba (Vice-President) ................................... (Mexico)


In the absence of Mr. Koterec (Slovakia), Mr. de Alba (Mexico), Vice-President, took the Chair.

Coordination, programme and other questions (continued)


Draft resolution entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women”

62. The President drew attention to chapter I, section B, of the report, which contained a draft resolution entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women”. The draft resolution had been adopted by the Commission by a recorded vote of 29 to 2, with 10 abstentions. He understood that a recorded vote in the Council had been requested on the draft resolution.

63. Ms. Robl (United States of America), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that her delegation was disappointed with the draft resolution. Her Government was committed to supporting the Palestinian people; its interest in improving humanitarian conditions was reflected in its support of groundbreaking programmes integrating gender into the public reform and development process and creating environments enabling Palestinian women to advance and lead.

64. Her Government was the largest bilateral donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and contributed significantly to other United Nations programmes assisting Palestinian women. It remained concerned about the situation in Gaza, where reports indicated that Hamas had limited women’s fundamental rights, in particular freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and access to public spaces, and that women were increasingly the targets of so-called “ethical” crimes. Her delegation supported efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of Gazans and would continue to work with the Palestinian Authority, Israel and international partners to improve the lives of ordinary people.

65. However, her delegation was troubled by the Council’s consideration of politicized issues and one-sided condemnations, which were a distraction from the real challenges. The Council should focus on its members’ shared goals; the draft resolution under consideration did not advance their common interests or those of Palestinian women, and was unhelpful to all involved.

66. In May 2011, President Obama had set out his vision for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, involving two States enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition and peace. Her Government would work with the parties, the Quartet and other international partners to bring about the resumption of direct negotiations, which were the only way for the parties to resolve their differences.

67. The President, in reply to a question from Ms. Fahmy (Egypt), said that the vote had been requested by the delegation of the United States of America.

68. A recorded vote was taken.
69. The draft resolution was adopted by 30 votes to 2, with 18 abstentions.

70. Mr. Morrill (Canada) said that his delegation had voted against the draft resolution because of its concern over the large number of unbalanced resolutions on the Middle East which had unfairly singled out Israel without addressing the complexity of the issues.

71. The President asked whether any delegation wished to make a general statement.

72. Ms. Davidovich (Observer for Israel) said that the draft resolution had no place in the Council. While her delegation was in favour of strengthening the Council’s role, the draft resolution was a destructive diversion that undermined its credibility as an impartial and professional body.

73. The draft resolution was an injustice to Palestinian women, whose true oppressors were not mentioned in the text. Many United Nations documents had illustrated the inequality, repression and violence against women that were inherent in Palestinian society. Gender discrimination was embedded in Palestinian policies, and was particularly dire under Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where the so-called morality police harassed men and women who were found to be mixing openly. Women were prohibited from riding bicycles, and faced beating and imprisonment for dressing immodestly. Hamas continued to shutter civil-society organizations which tried to protect women’s rights.

74. The draft resolution was inadequate and misleading, did nothing to address the real challenges faced by women in Palestinian society and gave cover to their oppressors. If its sponsors had been genuinely interested in improving the situation of Palestinian women, they would not have neglected so many of the factors which exacerbated their plight.

75. Ms. Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that her delegation was grateful to the Council members that had voted in favour of the draft resolution and to the sponsoring countries for their unwavering support for the Palestinian people’s rights and well-being. The adoption of the draft resolution was particularly important given the stark escalation of illegal Israeli policies and practices, such as the confiscation of land for the settlement campaign, the demolition of Palestinian homes and further displacement of women and their families, and the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Those policies and practices, rather than the adoption of the draft resolution, were the real impediment to peace.

76. Since Palestinian women and girls bore the brunt of Israel’s illegal practices, the draft resolution rightly called on the international community to protect their human rights and to intensify its efforts to improve their situation.

77. The statement made by the observer for Israel had clearly been intended to shift the Council’s attention away from Israel’s abuses against Palestinian civilians. The brutality of the occupation, and the illegal practices and policies manifested in Israel’s humiliating and dehumanizing treatment of the Palestinian people, were the major obstacle to the advancement of Palestinian women. The draft resolution was needed because Palestinians were living under a military occupation that violated international law every day, resulting in untold misery and suffering.

78. Her delegation called on Israel to focus on its Government’s actions instead of ignoring its status as an occupying Power and attempting to misrepresent the situation, and to heed the international community’s calls to end the occupation and human rights abuses. That was the only way to empower Palestinian women and bring peace.


Corrections to this record should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

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