Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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An attempt to cancel a bill in Congress on violence against women due to a clause on Palestinian women’s rights

An attempt to cancel a bill in Congress on violence against women due to a clause on Palestinian women’s rights

Washington – Several Democratic lawmakers withdrew their support for a bill condemning sexual violence against women because it included a clause indicating “to better contextualize the historical risks facing Palestinian women , and how these risks have been exacerbated by the conflict in the Middle East.”

Democrats opposed the draft resolution because it also spoke about the harassment facing Palestinian women at Israeli checkpoints and during detention.

Democratic lawmakers said they were not aware of the amendment to the measure, proposed by Representative Debbie Dingell, and said the bill included controversial language for Israel.

Rep. Dingell said she sent a letter about the amendment to lawmakers more than two weeks ago and offered them the opportunity to remove their names.

Dingell introduced the draft resolution on March 8 with the participation of 21 lawmakers, all Democrats. Since March 19, seven of the original sponsors of the bill have backed down after the amendment.

The final text of the resolution finds that “high levels of poverty, instability, and deteriorating living conditions in Gaza” as a result of “decades of conflict with Israel” have “led to an increased risk of violence against Palestinian women and girls . ”

The lawmakers who withdrew from the resolution opposed the inclusion of the reported harassment Palestinian women have faced at Israeli checkpoints and while in detention, as well as successive but unrelated references to Israel’s war on Gaza.

A spokesman for Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), who withdrew his support for the bill after the amendment was made, said he “categorically did not agree to keep the updated resolution after the language change.”

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) said he removed his name because the revised language added “baseless allegations that created a false equivalence between Israel and Hamas.”

Ultimately, Goldman, Levin, Susan Wild (D-PA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Shri Tanedar (D-MI), and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) withdrew their support for the bill.

The Dingell resolution broadly condemns violence against women as a “global crisis” and states that “horrific” acts of rape, sexual and gender-based violence are “particularly heinous when used as a weapon during conflicts.”

Reem Al-Salem, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said there are “very good reasons to believe that Israel has committed acts of sexual violence against Palestinians.”

Last month, Al-Salem and other UN experts said they had received reports of Palestinian women and girls being subjected to sexual assault, including the rape of two detained Palestinian women.

Reports of sexual assault and violence against female Palestinian detainees also date back to before the recent bloody Israeli war on Gaza, and a report issued in August 2023 by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories documented “cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” , including sexual assaults.”

“The international community must send a message that it is deeply concerned about the increasing use of sexual violence against women in conflicts, and needs to put an end to the impunity surrounding it,” she said.

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