Explanation of Vote by The Honorable Meryl Frank, U.S. Representative to the Commission on the Status of Women, on the resolution entitled "Situation of and Assistance to Palestinian Women"

Meryl Frank, U.S. Representative to the Commission on the Status of Women
New York, NY
March 13, 2009


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The U.S. Delegation came to this year’s Commission meeting with a message of change on a whole range of important issues – the repealing of the so-called Mexico City Policy, the intention to restore U.S. funding to the UN Population Fund, a reaffirmation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and support for ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, just to name a few. We have been gratified by the warm reception and spirit of cooperation offered by delegations. Sadly, on this particular resolution, instead of change, we are presented with an unfair and unbalanced statement that characterizes a “business as usual” approach that serves no one’s purposes.

The United States is deeply concerned about the current humanitarian situation in Gaza, and we will continue to play an important role providing assistance to the Palestinian people. At the March 2 donors conference for Gaza recovery in Sharm el-Shaykh, the United States announced its intention to provide approximately $900 million for humanitarian support to the Palestinian people in Gaza, including through the UN Consolidated Appeal; budget support for the Palestinian Authority; and further support for the priorities identified by the PA in the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. We are also the largest bilateral donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and contribute significant amounts to many other international organizations providing assistance to Palestinian women and the entire Palestinian population.

The United States is also moving quickly and assertively to seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and its Arab neighbors. We believe that vigorous, resolute American engagement can help support the parties as they make progress and take the necessary risks for peace. Our goal remains a comprehensive resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including an Israeli-Palestinian solution based on the principle of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

The terror of rocket fire aimed at innocent Israelis is simply intolerable. And a future without hope for the Palestinians is intolerable too. By failing to acknowledge both of these principles, this body undermines its own credibility, effectiveness, and values.

Mr. Chairman, we believe that the Quartet remains the most effective instrument for advancing the international community’s engagement in the effort to bring lasting peace to the Middle East. Both Israelis and Palestinians have obligations to meet. We need to support their efforts to make real progress toward the lasting peace that the innocent civilians caught up in this conflict so richly deserve. Doing so requires actions that contribute to progress rather than politicized resolutions that impede it.

Regrettably, this resolution seeks to politicize the CSW with the myth that this is the only situation in the world that merits singular focus and condemnation. It is inconsistent with the facts and with the universal values of the Commission, and the United States will vote against this resolution.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2009/048