The United States wishes to underscore our longstanding concerns about this resolution, which the Commission considers annually.
We remain troubled at this body’s insistence on including political elements and one-sided condemnations that detract from the real challenges at hand. This is yet one more example of anti-Israel bias that damages many bodies throughout the UN system. This Commission needs to refocus its energy toward shared goals, as this resolution is unhelpful to all involved.
The United States, along with many of our international partners, remains committed to supporting the Palestinian people, including Palestinian women, in practical and effective ways. Our deep interest in improving humanitarian conditions is reflected in our ongoing support of vital programs that continue to break ground in integrating gender into the public reform and development process, and in creating environments that enable Palestinian women to advance and lead. The United States directly funds several programs that address major issues facing Palestinian women, including inequality, gender-based violence, the lack of legal rights, and the need for political and economic empowerment.
We note that for decades the United States has been the largest single donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which provides education, healthcare, and social and relief services as well as emergency assistance to more than 5.3 million UNRWA registered Palestinians in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. We provided over a third of UNRWA’s funding in 2017, more than the next four donors combined, and in January, we provided $60 million to support UNRWA’s education and health programs in Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza. The U.S. government also has contributed significantly to other UN programs that assist Palestinian women and the entire Palestinian population.
We remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including reports that Hamas “authorities” have undertaken efforts to limit women’s ability to appear in public and to move freely. This February, there were even reports that Hamas blocked the launch of a women’s television channel. We are also concerned that punishment of women for so-called “ethical” crimes continues unchecked.
The United States continues to work toward achieving peace throughout the Middle East region, including a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Any peace settlement ultimately has to be the product of direct negotiations between the parties, and both sides must agree. We can help and support the process – and President Trump is determined to do so – but we cannot impose a solution on the Israelis and Palestinians. Nor can one side impose an agreement on the other.
We reiterate our support for additional efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of Gazans and will continue to work with the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and other stakeholders to improve the lives of Gazan women.