Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Situation des palestiniennes - réunion et vote de l'ECOSOC - Communiqué de presse (23 juillet 2008) Français
Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

23 July 2008

Economic and Social Council

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Economic and Social Council
2008 Substantive Session
40th & 41st Meetings (AM & PM)



Also Adopts Texts Addressing Gender Equality, Palestinian Women,
Development Policy, Habitat Agenda, Harmful Products, among Other Issues

The Economic and Social Council today extended the mandate of its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti through its 2009 substantive session and adopted three other resolutions and five decisions relating to a range of issues, including gender equality, women and development and the environment, as it continued its general segment.



The Economic and Social Council today continued its general segment, turning to its agenda items on mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes of the United Nations, women and development, and the advancement of women.  It was also expected to further consider its agenda item on economic and environmental questions.


Action on Texts


The Council then took up the draft resolution on the situation and assistance to Palestinian women in part B of the report. By that text, the Council would express its concern at the grave situation of Palestinian women from the impact of ongoing illegal Israeli practices, including settlement activities, the continued imposition of closures and restrictions on the movement of persons and goods in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The Council would also express grave concern over the increased difficulties Palestinian women faced, including the sharp increase in poverty, soaring unemployment and declining health and education standards as a result of the deterioration in the economic and social conditions on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  It would reaffirm that the Israeli occupation remained a major obstacle for Palestinian women’s advancement, self-reliance and integration into the development of society, and call on the international community to continue to provide urgently needed assistance and services in an effort to “alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families”.

Before the vote on the text, MEIRAV EILON SHAHAR ( Israel) said the text had emerged, in part, from other annual, politically motivated resolutions that totally ignored the reality of the situation on the ground.  Indeed, no other resolutions under consideration by the Commission on the Status of Women involved political, geographic or region-specific matters.  It was obvious that the text stemmed from a political situation and was not really aimed at helping Palestinian women.  If it had been, it would have addressed all the obstacles those women faced, especially the “oppressive and persistent internal bias against women imbedded deeply in Palestinian society”.

Clearly, the challenges Palestinian women faced were significant, and Israel supported improving their quality of life and offering them assistance, she continued.  But, the situation inside Palestinian society, which harmed both Israeli and Palestinian women, needed to be addressed with comprehensive measures, not a one-sided resolution.  She called on the Council to oppose the politically motivated text.

LAURIE LERNER PHIPPS ( United States) said her delegation would vote no, because, as drafted, the current text was unbalanced, addressing victims on one side of a conflict, but not on the other.  It ignored purposeful targeting of Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists.  The United States was deeply concerned about humanitarian crisis and loss of life in the Gaze Strip.  It was equally concerned that Israeli women and children had lost their lives due to the activities of Palestinian terrorists.

She said the United States was the largest bilateral donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and supported all efforts to bolster its position as a stabilizing force in the West Bank and Gaza.  At the same time, she reiterated that the resolution before the Council was unfair, unbalanced and inconsistent with the universal aims of the United Nations.  The United States was committed to working through the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East peace process to achieve the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security.  The international community should be working towards that shared vision.  Supporting one-sided resolutions only undercut that effort.

The resolution was then adopted by a roll call vote of 25 in favour to 2 against ( Israel, United States), with 17 abstentions.

Speaking after the vote, NADYA RIFAAT RASHEED of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine thanked those delegations that had voted in favour of the draft resolution.  The resolution simply reaffirmed respect for international and human rights laws, she said.  It advanced the rights of the Palestinian women who suffered under a brutal, forced occupation.  It was important to send a message from the very organization that had been established to protect them.

Responding to the statement made by the representative of Israel, she said it was shocking that such a statement could be made, as if Israel was not an occupying Power that had repressed generations of Palestinians.  Peace could not be established if the continued violations of all kinds of laws, including Israeli ones, were simultaneously being documented.

Israel, she stressed, had no place talking about any situation inside Palestinian society.   Israel should focus its activities on achieving a peaceful settlement, she said.

The Council then adopted without a vote the draft decision, as orally amended, contained in section C of the report.


Before the end of the meeting, the representative of the Philippines informed the Council that his delegation had been out of the room during the vote on the resolution on support for Palestinian women and would therefore like the record to reflect Philippine’s support for that text.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter