2017-06-19 14:50:31 UTC
U.N. Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Men Beating Their Wives
A new report by a United Nations expert, and submitted to the U.N. Human
Rights Council, blames Israel in part for Palestinian men beating their
wives - offering more fuel to those in the Trump administration seeking to
leave the council over its anti-Israel bias.
The document, first reported by U.N. Watch, which monitors the international
body, was written by Dubravka Simonovic - the Special Rapporteur on violence
against women - who filed dual reports based on her trips to the region in
2016. The report in question focuses on the "causes and consequences" of
violence against women in the region.
In her filing on Israel, Simonovic highlights what she claims is a "clear
linkage" between the "Israeli occupation" and Palestinian domestic abuse:
While recognizing the imperatives related to security and stability in the
region, the Rapporteur highlights the clear linkage between the prolonged
occupation and [violence against women], and she notes, like her
predecessor, that the occupation does not exonerate the State of Palestine
from its due human rights obligation to prevent, investigate, punish and
provide remedies for acts of gender-based violence (GBV) in the areas and
for persons under its jurisdiction or effective control.
The report states:
Several testimonies the Rapporteur collected highlighted that the economic
situation, the level of unemployment and the pressure of the occupation have
a greater impact on women's and children's lives, making them more
vulnerable to domestic violence, in particular in Gaza, due to the constant
pressure felt by the blockade and the recurring cycles of conflict, and the
overcrowding that limits their mobility and privacy.
While Simonovic does partly blame traditions and culture within Palestinian
society, her report still fingered Israel in those sections. For instance,
the report claims that "decades of Israeli occupation in parallel with the
continuation of patriarchal attitude in Palestinian society expose women to
subordination and continuing violence."
However, while in some places the report does state that what it calls "the
State of Palestine" has a responsibility, it also mitigates that
responsibility in other sections, at one point claiming: "the occupation is
a real obstacle to the State's due diligence obligation to prevent violence
against women in areas where it does not have full jurisdiction."
"Israeli occupation" refers to Israel's presence in the West Bank, which is
dotted with historic Jewish towns and Jewish holy sites; and eastern
Jersualem, home of the Western Wall and Temple Mount.
The Human Rights Council has long been accused of anti-Israel bias. U.S.
Ambassador Nikki Haley has repeatedly called the council out on its bias,
and threatened that the U.S. may leave that body if it does not reform its
membership and focus less on Israel.
At a debate on the report at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, U.N. Watch
representative Hillel Neuer criticized Simonovic and accused her of
"infantilizing" Palestinian men, and questioned why she did not spend more
time on the issue of "tradition and culture," arguing that Palestinian TV
gives advice to husbands on how to hit their wives.
Simonovic responded by clarifying that "any man who is beating his wife is
responsible - he is a perpetrator of violence."
"But when we are speaking about human rights responsibility and due
diligence responsibility, then we are at a different level, because states
have due diligence responsibility to prevent violence against women and to
establish measures to prevent such violence; to punish perpetrators of
violence and to provide compensation to victims," she said.