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Top U.N. Human Rights Official Blames Palestinian Domestic Violence Against Women on…Israel


"In other words: It’s Israel’s fault."

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Photo: AP/Keystone/ Salvatore Di Nolfi)

A report issued earlier this year by the top United Nations human rights official appears to hold Israel responsible for the domestic violence committed by Palestinian men against their wives, a watchdog group says.

U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based research organization that monitors anti-Israel activity at the U.N., this week posted excerpts with the claim from the January report of the U.N. Human Rights Council by High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Photo: AP/Keystone/ Salvatore Di Nolfi) U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (Photo: AP/Keystone/ Salvatore Di Nolfi)

In the report, Pillay “revives the bizarre charge, made by one of her colleagues in 2005, that when Palestinian men beat their wives, it’s Israel’s fault,” U.N. Watch wrote on its website.

“Women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory face multiple layers of violence and discrimination,” the U.N. report stated. Citing a previous U.N. report addressing violence against women in 2005, Pillay's report said that “the combination of decades of Israeli occupation, the use of force against Palestinians by Israel, the different forms of resistance used by Palestinians against such use of force and the patriarchy prevailing in Palestinian society expose women to a continuum of violence in all spheres of life.”

Palestinian “resistance” – a term specified in the U.N. report — is a word often invoked by Palestinians and supporters when referring to terrorist attacks against Israel, including the launching of rockets at southern Israeli communities by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“It is unacceptable for the U.N. to displace male responsibility for their inhumane conduct toward women. Palestinian women are entitled to a civilized life that requires men in the West Bank and Gaza to be held personally accountable to humane personal standards,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, told TheBlaze in an email Thursday.

“Blaming Israel for what Palestinian men do to their wives is not only unsustainable in logic, it is cruel and immoral for the victims,” Neuer said.

The problem of domestic violence among Palestinians is serious and has been deadly. The Tower, a Middle East-focused publication, noted last week that so-called “honor killings” in the West Bank and Gaza had doubled in 2013.

“Some 37 percent of married women in the Palestinian territories have been subjected to domestic violence by their husbands," Al-Monitor reported last year, citing a 2012 study by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Al-Monitor also referred to statistics from the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution which “recorded more than 400 cases of severe acts of violence against women.”

Another study showed that in 2012, 14 "honor crimes" were committed. During 2013, that number nearly doubled to 27 killings of women in Palestinian-governed territories.

A Palestinian woman calling herself Ibtissam told Al-Monitor last year: “My husband did not like what I cooked for dinner, so he punched me in the face, injuring my eye. I often get severely beaten for trivial reasons.”

“He even allows his mother and sisters to hit me during familial disagreements,” she added.

The 2005 U.N. report to which human rights official Pillay had referred was authored by Yakin Erturk who then served as the U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women.

According to excerpts highlighted by U.N. Watch, the latest report said of Palestinian domestic violence: “Women with husbands explained that the dire economic situation and the pressures of the [Israeli] occupation have made men more violent because they have lost their ability to provide and protect — two essential elements of manhood in a traditional patriarchal society. As men become stripped of their manhood, women become the shock absorbers of the crises as targets of domestic violence.”

To this, UN Watch observed: “In other words: it’s Israel’s fault. This dangerous theme of moral displacement pervades the report.”

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