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Resources updated Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressing the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women at UN headquarters in New York on March 13, 2017.

The UN's top women's rights body, the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), opened its annual session in New York today with Iran serving in a key position. Iran is not only one of 45 elected member states of CSW, it is also a member of an exclusive group of five states that are charged with handling complaints of violations of women's rights from all over the world. The group is formally called the CSW "Working Group on Communications."

The election took place on the final day of the 2016 annual session of CSW, March 24, 2016, but was somehow omitted from the UN press release covering the meeting. Iran's appointment is mentioned, however, in the documentation for the 2017 CSW session. Here is the announcement in UN-eze:

"In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 2009/16, the Commission appoints five of its members to serve a two-year term on the Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women, established in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1983/27. At the 1st meeting of its sixty-first session, the Commission appointed Belarus, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Liberia and Uruguay as members of the Working Group on Communications for the sixty-first session. In the absence of a nomination from the Western European and other States, the Commission had postponed the election of the remaining member of the Working Group on Communications to a later date..."

No mention was made of Iran's abysmal treatment of its own women or the additional danger posed by Iranian oversight to any woman who has or would want to complain to the UN of her government's treatment.

UN's top women's rights body opens with Iran overseeing all complaints of violations of women's rights Development

The UN Human Rights Council (File photo)

Why Trump Should Withdraw the U.S. From the UN Human Rights Council Article

Members of the UN Security Council (File photo)

Former UN Staffer: It's Imperative U.S. Cuts Ties With United Nations Article

Israeli Border Policemen near stabbing

Two 20-year-old border policemen were moderately wounded early Monday morning after being stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist-who was later identified as 25-year-old Ibrahim Mattar-near the Lions' Gate in Jerusalem.

Police have confirmed that the attacker, a resident of Jabel Mukaber, was shot dead by one of the injured officers.

MDA teams evacuated the two to Hadassah Medical Center for treatment.

Following the attack, police forces converged on the home of the terrorist in Jabel Mukaber and detained several people, including family members.

According to police, the terrorist arrived at the scene at around 4am and parked his car nearby. After noticing the two border policemen taking up positions near the gate, the terrorist followed them to their post and began stabbing them.

The two officers managed to shove the terrorist out of the guard post and one managed to shoot and kill him.

This is the first attack to have taken place in the area in three months. During the wave of terror, the landmark was one of the flashpoints of terror-related violence and stabbing attacks.

In accordance with security assessments surrounding the holiday, a general closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be enforced until midnight.

Two Israeli Border Policemen Wounded in Jerusalem Stabbing Document

Ahmad Daqamseh

Ahmad Daqamseh, the Jordanian soldier convicted of killing seven Israeli schoolgirls 20 years ago, was released from prison on Sunday to a warm welcome from much of Jordanian society.

Wary that there would be an embarrassing show of popular support for Daqamseh, authorities released him after midnight on Saturday rather than on Monday, as had previously been expected.

But despite the surprise, supporters gathered quickly in his home village of Ibdir, in northern Jordan.

Daqamseh was found guilty of opening fire at a group of 80 seventh- and eighth-graders from the AMIT Fuerst School in Beit Shemesh in 1997, during an outing at the joint Israeli-Jordanian tourist resort Island of Peace in Naharayim. Seven of the girls were killed, while another six were wounded.

A video of Daqamseh in a vehicle approaching his home showed him surrounded by well-wishers clapping and shouting a religious chant: "Pray for the prophet."

But then the group addressed Daqamseh, saying, "You are courageous, you are the most courageous." A man chanted, and the group repeated: "You are the one in front of the battle, you are the one who blew up the [Jordan] Valley."

To amp up the festivities, the well-wishers then began singing the words to a wedding song: "Blessed Muhammad, shame on you Satan," followed by more chants of "this is the hero here."

Daqamseh's first statements Sunday were nonpolitical. "I will remain a soldier in the armed forces. I entered prison as a soldier in the armed forces and today consider myself and sons soldiers in the armed forces."

But soon afterward, in an interview with Al Jazeera in which he was unshaven and wore tinted glasses, he turned his attention to Israel, and it was clear that in his view it simply should not exist.

Daqamseh, who never voiced remorse over the massacre, said: "I would like to send a message to the Jordanian people. Don't believe the lie of normalization with the Zionist entity. Don't believe the lie of the two-state solution. Palestine is one country, from the sea to the river and from Ras Naqura [Rosh Hanikra] to Umm Rashrash [Eilat]. They falsified the names of the cities. Unfortunately, there are many Muslims who brag and talk about the State of Israel. There will never be a State of Israel."

Daqamseh's release was a wrenching spectacle for Israelis, considering he would have killed even more children had his weapon not become jammed. Daqamseh, now 46, would have been liable for execution, except that he was found to be mentally unstable and so was given a life sentence that is the equivalent of 20 years under Jordanian law. A few days after the killings, King Hussein traveled to Israel and beseeched the forgiveness of the bereaved families on behalf of all Jordanians.

But especially over the last decade, alongside heightened animosity towards Israel, calls mounted to release Daqamseh. In 2008, 70 prominent personalities signed a petition asking King Abdullah to pardon him. In 2011, then-justice minister Hussein Majali termed him a hero and called for his release, although the statement was repudiated by the Foreign Ministry.

In 2014, parliament voted by majority that he should be released.

Larger and larger segments of Jordan's population were buying into a view that what he did was heroic, understandable or at least had extenuating circumstances. At his trial, Daqamseh said he opened fire after Israeli girls mocked him while he was performing his prayers. This was taken up in Sunday's coverage of the release in ad-Dustour, which closed a short article by stating this claim as if it were a fact: "It is remembered that the soldier Daqamseh opened fire on a group of Israeli girls because of their mocking him during his prayers near Baqura in 1997."

But while ad-Dustour did not praise Daqamseh, he was lionized on Facebook and by some prominent personalities, including member of parliament Muslih al-Tarawneh, who said: "Ahmad is our groom today and every day. He has finished his sentence. Let him live in peace. He is not a stranger. He is the owner of the land and the country, and the heart of the country belongs to him."

On Facebook, most of the posts were effusive, but there were also some who went against the tide and voiced revulsion at seeing a child killer glorified.

Intellectual Basel Rafayeh wrote: "There is no heroism in killing children and I hope that he is not fooled by the popular support and the handicapped opposition, which believed that the children made fun of his prayers. The court convicted him and believed he has a mental problem. Case closed."

However, for Facebook user Talaat Shuaibat, it was a day of celebration.

"Jordanians have the right to celebrate the liberation of one city from occupation its name is Ahmad Daqamseh."

Yasin Tarawneh wrote: "Daqamseh has recorded in Jordanian history that Jordan remains patriotic."

"May God protect him from the Zionists and the criminal agents," wrote Mohammed Farid.

Someone writing under the name Zein Srour wrote in one post: "The group that is praising him will bring us backwards." After another user responded to his post by calling Daqamseh "the lord of the heroes," Srour stuck to his guns: "If we are not humans, we are animals." He later wrote: "He killed Jewish children. Our religion doesn't say to kill people."

In the Knesset, MK Jackie Levy (Likud) expressed his disappointment that Daqamseh was released and did not stay in prison for the rest of his life. "It is sad and painful that a despicable murderer who conducted a brutal massacre returned home to a normal life. This terrorist should have spent the rest of his life behind bars."

Jordan Releases Soldier Who Killed 7 Israeli Schoolgirls Document