The following written submissions by United Nations Watch have been published by the UN as official documents of the 47th session of the Human Rights Council:
A/HRC/47/NGO/73: Violence Against Women in Palestinian Society
Excerpt: United Nations Watch is concerned about the prevalence of violence against women in the territories under Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas control and the perpetuation of a false narrative that somehow blames Israel.
Violence against women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is widespread. The PA has even broadcast TV programs encouraging wife-beating. The 2016 report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women noted that Palestinian women “suffer under a system of violence emanating from the tradition and culture, with embedded patriarchal social norms and multiple outdated legal frameworks,” and expressed specific concern about honor killings, domestic violence and sexual violence.
In its 2018 concluding observations on the State of Palestine, the UN Committee which monitors the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern about “the high prevalence of gender-based violence against women, in particular so-called ‘honor killings’ and domestic and sexual violence, which remain socially accepted and underreported due to the stigma suffered by victims.” Notably, while the PA acceded to CEDAW in 2014, at least two Palestinian government entities—the Supreme Fatwa Council and the Supreme Commission of Tribal Affairs—oppose compliance with CEDAW.
A/HRC/47/NGO/145: Antisemitism and Incitement in Palestinian Education
Excerpt: United Nations Watch is concerned that the Palestinian education system continues to promote antisemitism and incite terrorism, including in schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Recently two UN treaty bodies reviewing the State of Palestine’s compliance with international human rights treaties criticized racist content in Palestinian educational materials. In August 2019, the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticized the existence of hate speech in “school curricula and textbooks,” which it said “fuels hatred and may incite violence, particularly hate speech against Israelis, which at times also fuels antisemitism.” In February 2020, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern about reports that Palestinian textbooks contained content “that do[es] not promote peace and tolerance.”
Regrettably, Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks continue to incite antisemitism and terrorism. In May this year, the European Parliament condemned the PA in this regard, expressing concern “that problematic material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed” and “about the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence in school textbooks.”
A/HRC/47/NGO/71: Remedies for the Protection Gap in the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Palestine
United Nations Watch is concerned about the protection gap fostered by the mandate under Agenda Item 7.
Unfortunately, the practical effects of this protection gap are that Palestinian and Israeli victims of human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hamas, or any other Palestinian actor are largely ignored by the Special Rapporteur. The most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas highlights this disparity.
On May 10, 2021, Hamas launched an unprovoked military attack on Israel, firing seven rockets at Jerusalem. During the next 11 days the terrorist organization fired over 4,000 rockets targeting Israeli civilians, killing 13, injuring 300, terrorizing millions and causing millions of dollars in damage. It did so from deep within the densely populated urban areas of Gaza, using its own civilians as human shields.
During this time, the Special Rapporteur issued three one-sided press releases, on May 11, May 18, and May 21 which focused on criticizing Israel while ignoring or minimizing Hamas violations against both Palestinians and Israelis. Ultimately, the statements legitimize Hamas terrorism and deny Israel’s right to self-defense.
A/HRC/47/NGO/72: Hamas Rocket Fire is a Double War Crime
On May 10, 2021, Hamas launched an unprovoked military attack on Israel, firing seven rockets at Jerusalem. During the next 11 days the terrorist organization fired over 4,000 rockets targeting Israeli civilians, killing 13, injuring 300, terrorizing millions and causing millions of dollars in damage. It did so from deep within the densely populated urban areas of Gaza, using its own civilians as human shields. From beginning to end, Hamas is solely responsible for civilian death and injury on both sides.
Article 51 of the UN Charter entitles Israel, as a UN member state, to exercise its “inherent right of…self-defense.” As the party attacked, Israel had the right to do what was necessary to restore its safety, including using force “reasonably necessary to discourage future armed attacks.” In the words of military law experts Geoffrey Corn and Rachel Vanlandingham: “International law does not restrict Israel to a mere tit-for-tat response; rather, it is the nature of the threat that dictates what self-defense actions are necessary and proportional in any given scenario…”
Western governments overwhelmingly supported Israel’s right to self-defense.
By targeting Israeli civilians and using its own civilians as human shields, Hamas rocket fire constitutes a double war crime. “Hamas, not only deliberately attacks Israeli civilians, but intentionally exposes its own civilians to the deadly consequences of the hostilities it provokes itself. In truth, it is Hamas—and only Hamas—that is illegally attacking civilians.” Human rights groups have condemned Hamas rockets as double war crimes.
A/HRC/47/NGO/70: UN Must Take Action Against Systemic Antisemitism
Antisemitism is a form of systemic racism that endangers Jews worldwide and must be addressed by the UN and its Member States. Disturbingly, this ancient hatred has been on the rise for some time. In June 2019, UN Secretary-General António Guterres aptly described rising antisemitism as a “multi-headed monster” of intolerance which had created a visible and violent “tsunami of hatred” across the world.
United Nations Watch is particularly concerned by increasing left-wing antisemitism from progressives who purport to care about racial justice. These activists are fueled by Palestinian antisemitic incitement which distorts history, denies the Holocaust and portrays Israel and all Jews as usurpers guilty of the worst evils of our time—genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
Regrettably, the United Nations plays a significant role in legitimizing this type of antisemitism. The UN’s 2001 Durban Conference, which was supposed to be against racism, was hijacked by pro-Palestinian activists who turned the event into the worst international manifestation of antisemitism in the post-war period.
Moreover, UN bodies obsessively and disproportionately focus on Israel, while ignoring egregious human rights violations by China, Cuba, Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian Federation, Pakistan, Turkey and others.