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Women and peace and security
Report of the Secretary-General on women and peace and security (S/2005/636)
The meeting resumed at 3.20 p.m.
The President: I call next on the representative of Egypt.
Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic ): It is my pleasure to address you today on behalf of the Arab Group and to express the Group’s appreciation for the comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on the fifth anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security.
I thank those who preceded me for reflecting on the United Nations system-wide efforts to strengthen commitment, accountability and transparency and to evaluate, monitor and report the progress realized.
The Arab countries work in close cooperation with the United Nations system to strengthen the means of protecting women during times of conflict, and to consolidate the role of women and their participation in post-conflict stages. That is in concert with our belief in the major role that women play, especially under the exceptional circumstances represented by foreign occupation with the ensuing deterioration of the humanitarian and economic situation and negative effects on economic and social development.
However, an evaluation of the international situation, five years after resolution 1325 (2000) shows that we have not realized many of the objectives we had hoped for. Palestinian women are still suffering under the pressures of occupation, aggravated by the construction of settlements and the separation wall. They are subjected to the worst and harshest treatment at crossings and checkpoints. As a result of the deaths of many of the husbands and sons of Palestinian women, they have assumed more demanding family obligations beyond their capacity.
Consequently, the Arab Group calls upon the Security Council to take into consideration the situation of Palestinian women under foreign occupation, in addition to that of Syrian and Lebanese women in other occupied Arab territories. The Council must work towards the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, within the context of a comprehensive and just peace agreement, based on the implementation of United Nations resolutions, international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace.
Ms. Eilon Shahar (Israel): At the outset, Israel would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this open debate on women, peace and security as we mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000).
On issues having to do with economy, politics, diplomacy, security and all other aspects of our society, Israel firmly believes that women must play an equal role. We have no doubt that the progress and advancement of women will translate into nothing less than progress and advancement for all. To that end, Israel remains committed to the goals and objectives of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as to the principles outlined in the outcome document recently adopted by our leaders at the world summit. The outcome document appropriately reaffirms the commitment of all Member States to the full and effective implementation of resolution 1325 (2000).
As in all other areas, Israel is convinced that women must play a key role in questions of peace and security. We believe that an increased role for women on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the negotiating table will positively reshape the outcome of peace negotiations.
The Israeli parliament continues to devote considerable attention to bolstering the role that women play in this area. For example, the Israeli women’s equal rights law was recently amended — in the spirit of resolution 1325 (2000) — and now mandates that the Israeli Government must include women in any group appointed to peacebuilding negotiations and conflict resolution. That legislation deals specifically with the adequate representation of women in shaping national policy and with the explicit goal of integrating women in all governmental boards and bodies established for the purpose of designing public national policy in foreign and interior affairs, including the resolution of international conflicts, inter alia, through peace treaty negotiations.
Because Israel believes so strongly in the contribution of women to peacebuilding, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sponsored a series of seminars on the voice of women in conflict resolution and peacebuilding at the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center in Haifa. The goal of the seminars is to open dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian women and further education towards peace. Of the 300 participants thus far, 50 per cent have been Palestinian women.
Those efforts are augmented by the work of numerous Israeli — and specifically women’s — non-governmental organizations, which represent a wide spectrum of Israeli society and politics. Their active contribution and involvement in influencing Israel’s agenda on peace issues, among others, have been widely felt.
For Israel, the topic of peace and security is fundamental. Israel has endured more than 20,000 terror attacks in recent years. Just yesterday, Israel sustained yet another suicide bombing, which like so many of its predecessors, claimed the lives of innocent civilians.
I would like to take a moment of the Council’s time to address the comments made previously by my colleague from Egypt. In fact, he brings up a good point: Palestinian women are currently suffering. But, since the topic has been raised, let us be very clear as to the exact nature of the suffering. The seemingly endless barrage of Palestinian terror attacks against Israel has resulted in the murder of thousands of innocents. Palestinian terrorist organizations have time and time again exploited Israeli goodwill gestures and manipulated social realities to perpetuate terror attacks against Israelis. On numerous occasions women have abused their status to cross security checkpoints with explosives and other weapons. In fact, several Palestinian women have succeeded in carrying out fatal suicide bombings. Thanks to the security procedures that my colleague decries, Israeli forces have arrested Palestinian women intent on carrying out suicide bombings. Just this past July, for example, Israeli security forces managed to apprehend a woman who had attempted to exploit a medical visa in order to carry out a suicide bombing in the very hospital in which she was receiving treatment. So, without question Palestinian women are suffering, but they are suffering at the hands of terrorist organizations that take advantage of women’s status to carry out barbaric attacks.
At a time when the Middle East is enjoying a new momentum as a result of Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, it is our hope that all parties in the region will capitalize on the new opportunities presented. We firmly believe that women should play a unique role, helping the region to take advantage of this new era of hope.
Both the status of women and the prospects for the future of the region are severely jeopardized when terrorists and their supporters manipulate women for evil purposes. Israel is committed to further advancing the role of women because it is right. Israel is resolved in its determination that women will play an increasingly active role in peace negotiations, because we recognize the unparalleled value of their contribution. And Israel stands here today, full of hope that an enhanced role for women in peace negotiations will build bridges of understanding in Israel and with our neighbours.
The meeting rose at 6.35 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council . Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A.