Monday, July 08, 2024

  • Monday, July 08, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
In 2014 , the "State of Palestine" acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) without reservation.  

According to UN documents, it maintains a set of laws that continue to enshrine the second-class status of women, and has not passed any laws to improve their status.

Here is a summary of their anti-woman laws are summarized here (taken from this document).


A UN ESCWA webpage tracks the passing and implementation of laws promoting women's rights per country. It shows that nothing has changed for Palestinian women since 2018 (the earliest date they track from.)


Notably, they are the only signatories in the Arab world that acceded to the convention without any reservations. In particular, most Arab countries expressed reservations about CEDAW's Article 16, which says women have equal rights with men within marriage including family planning, property ownership and occupations.

There is huge opposition to CEDAW in Palestinian territories and the larger Arab world, claiming that it goes against sharia law. Nevertheless, some Arab countries have passed laws to empower women. Tunisia banned polygamy and recognises a woman’s equal right to marry a non-Muslim spouse.  In Egypt, women have been granted the right to divorce under some circumstances. 

The claims that CEDAW is against sharia appears to be largely bogus. For example, while Islamic law may allow underage marriage, there is no reason to oppose laws that prohibit it - just as sharia allows slavery but there is little opposition nowadays to national laws prohibiting the practice. 

It seems that the only reason the Palestinians accepted CEDAW was to help their case to join the International Criminal Court to press cases against Israel,  but  they had no intention of following through on that nor other international conventions that they signed. This was admitted by the editor of the Palestinian newspaper Ma'an, who said in 2019, "The government cannot implement CEDAW in its entirety in light of the existence of a societal system, and that the signing of the agreement is political and was not intended to undermine the Sharia, and had it not been for the signing of CEDAW and many other agreements, the International Criminal Court would not have accepted us."

As the chart above indicates, this is true. The Palestinian Authority signed all these conventions to use them against Israel, not to actually implement them. And when international agencies notice their foot dragging, it is blamed on internal pressures by Islamists or other technical reasons, but no one begins to think that there was never any intent to follow the signed agreements from the outset.

Which also shows another important fact about Palestinian leadership: their signed agreements are not worth the paper they are written on. 



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