The United States strongly objects to this biased and counterproductive resolution as well as this body’s insistence on including political elements and one-sided condemnations. This political posturing detracts from the real challenges at hand – problems we should all commit to solving.
The United States, along with many of our international partners, remains committed to practical and effective support of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian women.
In fact, as we all know, the United States is the single largest donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, which provides education, healthcare, and social and relief services as well as emergency assistance to more than 5.3 million eligible Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. In fiscal year 2016, the United States provided more than $359 million to UNRWA.
U.S. funding to UNRWA includes support for programs designed to address the needs of Palestinian refugee women specifically, including efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The U.S. government also contributes significantly to other UN programs that assist Palestinian women and the entire Palestinian population.
Furthermore, the United States has funded many programs that combat the challenges facing Palestinian women, including inequality, gender-based violence, the lack of legal rights, and the need for political and economic empowerment.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza must improve. We remain troubled by reports that Hamas continues to limit women’s ability to appear in public and move freely. It is outrageous that the 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.
My government is determined to support the peace process, 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 international partners to improve the lives of Gazan women.