AMBASSADOR DANNY DANON shakes hands with incoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York
AMBASSADOR DANNY DANON shakes hands with incoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York yesterday. (photo credit:ISRAEL MISSION TO THE UN)


NEW YORK – Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon signed a comprehensive agreement on Thursday with UN Women, the world body’s institution for gender equality and the empowerment of women, making Israel one of a limited number of countries that have such relations with the organization.

The agreement, which went into effect immediately, is said to be similar to one establishing diplomatic relations between countries, and was signed by Danon and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The Israeli mission to the UN explained that the agreement will lead to extensive cooperation between Israel and UN Women, especially in terms of the group’s outreach to developing countries in areas including women’s empowerment and professional training for female leaders and business executives.

UN Women is one of the UN’s largest agencies. Active in 93 countries, it aims to empower women, advance gender equality, provide humanitarian and economic assistance to women, and fight against domestic violence worldwide.

Some 140 countries contribute more than $307 million annually to the organization’s budget.

According to the terms of the accord, Israeli personnel will now be integrated into UN Women. The Israeli mission to the international body said it hopes that the initiative helps highlight the positive contributions Israel makes to the international community while blunting attempts to politicize the organization.

“This agreement represents a double victory for Israel,” Danon said. “Not only will we now receive the international recognition we deserve for our leadership in gender equality, but this is also an important step in Israel’s being accepted as a full partner in the parliament of nations.”

Danon said Israel is already planning a number of additional agreements in order expand its cooperation with the organization.

“We will continue to cooperate with the international community out of a feeling of responsibility to work towards a better, and more equal, world,” he explained.

The agreement is an important achievement for Israel, especially because earlier this year the UN Commission on the Status of Women condemned it for what it called the “downtrodden state of Palestinian women.”

According to a report disseminated by the secretary-general’s office in March, just before International Women’s Day, Israeli “occupation” is to blame for domestic violence against Palestinian women.

The report claimed that “overcrowded living conditions and a lack of privacy” in Palestinian refugee camps cause “psychological distress among camp residents” which, combined with “the unstable political and security situation and discriminatory gender stereotypes and norms” leads to violence.

“Refugee camps in the occupied Palestinian territory are among the most densely populated urban environments in the world and the conditions in these camps have deteriorated over decades, in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” it added. “Specifically for women and girls, this overcrowding limits their mobility, privacy and access to recreational spaces.”

At the time, Danon had issued a statement calling the report “a distortion of the truth.”

As reported by The Jerusalem Post