x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

FNC member attacks UAE criticism

Amal al Qubaisi, the FNC's only elected woman member, defends the UAE's stand against Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem.

BANGKOK // Israel's deputy foreign minister Majalli Wahabi got more than he bargained for today when he criticised the UAE for lobbying against Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli official, who also said UAE officials should "talk about women's rights in their country" before defending Arab issues, spoke shortly after Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, the speaker of the Federal National Council, addressed the annual meeting of the International Parliamentary Union meeting in the Thai capital. But just before the meeting concluded Amal al Qubaisi, the FNC's only elected woman member, took the podium. "Jerusalem is home to 220 historical sites with symbolic value not only to Islam but also to international heritage," said Dr al Qubaisi, who wrote her doctorate dissertation on the preservation of architectural heritage. She said the Israeli practices in Jerusalem contradicted the Geneva conventions which prevent the destruction of cultural heritage by occupying powers in territories under their control. She added that women occupy 23 per cent of the FNC's seats; eight per cent of the Cabinet positions; 33 per cent in leadership positions; and 66 per cent of public positions. "Women are empowered in the UAE at all political, social and economic levels," said Dr al Qubaisi, whose remarks were welcomed with a long applause by many of the representatives of 131 parliaments who attended the conference. The Israeli government announced earlier this month plans to build 1,600 Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem during a visit of the US vice president Joe Biden to Israel, triggering a rare row between the Jewish state and the US. "I request the formation of an international parliamentary committee to look at what is happening in Jerusalem and report to the union's conference next year," Mr al Ghurair said. "Jerusalem is a city that belongs to the three monotheist religions and the Israeli violations against the city do not only fall with the parameters of peace in the Middle East, but also those of international peace and stability." mhabboush@thenational.ae