Statement by Mrs. Somaia Barghouti, Counsellor, before the Third Committee, Agenda Item 107: Advancement of Women and Agenda item 108: Implementation of the outcom of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century", 10 October 2000.

 

At the outset, allow me, Madame Chair, on behalf of my delegation to extend my warmest congratulations up on your election as Chairperson of this important Committee. We are confident that your able leadership will lead our deliberations to a successful conclusion. We wish also to extend our warmest congratulations to the other members of the bureau.

Madame Chair,

The convening in June 2000 of the 23rd Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the twenty-first century, five years after the Beijing Conference, is a clear testimony by the international community of the vast importance of the issue of women, their advancement and their empowerment. After long days and nights of work and difficult negotiations, the Session successfully adopted a balanced and action-oriented outcome document. It addresses the main achievements and obstacles in the implementation of the twelve critical areas of the Beijing Platform of Action. It also set out further initiatives to overcome these obstacles and to achieve the full implementation of the Platform. Women in poverty, violence against women, human rights of women, and women in armed conflict, including women under foreign occupation are among the issues given considerable attention. Such attention, however, must be transformed into action by means of more innovative approaches and additional resources.

 

Madame Chairperson,

The continuation of the Israeli occupation has resulted in great difficulties for Palestinian women, seriously hampering efforts to promote a viable and comprehensive plan of action for their advancement and empowerment. They have been long deprived from developing their socio-economic potential due to the oppressive Israeli policies and measures including confiscation of land, building and expansion of settlements, judaization of Occupied East Jerusalem, prevention of the territorial continuity of the Palestinian land, exploitation of natural resources, detention of prisoners, and the rejection of assuming responsibility and allowing for the right of return of the refugees and displaced Palestinians. Moreover, the Israeli occupation, along with its oppressive policies has exacerbated the inability of Palestinian women to thoroughly implement the Beijing Platform of Action. The latest tragic events of the continued Israeli aggression have occurred following the provocative visit of 28 September 2000 by the leader of the Israeli Likud Party, Mr.Arial Sharon to Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Occupied East Jerusalem. The aggression and violence against the Palestinian people in the following days throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, has claimed the lives of over 80 Palestinians mostly young men, children, and women and has also resulted in the wounding and injury of over 2000 Palestinians. The excessive lethal force used by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people was witnessed by the international community in one brutal photo, as 12-year-old, Mohammed Jamal Al-Durra was shot and wilfully killed in the arms of his father by Israeli security forces.

Madame Chair,

Despite all of these hardships the Palestinian people, particularly Palestinian women, have been able to establish the foundations for the social, economic, and institutional development of the Palestinian State, which has been long overdue. This establishment includes foundations for the educational, health, and economic infrastructures as well as various structures and networks needed for development, simultaneously bearing in mind the issue of gender. Womens units in all of the Ministries have been created. The cooperation between these units and the non- government organizations has resulted in a national strategy for Palestinian women, which serves the basis for future plans to achieve equality, development, peace, and prosperity.

Madame Chair,

In spite of the appalling actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, on 29 September and the following days, and the detrimental effects it has had on the Middle East peace process and the efforts to achieve a final settlement between the two sides, we wish to reaffirm the commitment of our people and their leadership to achieving a comprehensive and just peace-a peace that guarantees the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, especially the right to self-determination and the creation of their independent State on all Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, the heart of which is Jerusalem, the City of Peace, and a peace which allows for the development, integration and advancement of all members of the Palestinian society, including and in particular women.