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Internal Palestinian issues
Women in PA society
Internal Palestinian issues
There are many internal issues concerning Palestinian society that are not related to Israel. This section will track these subjects and update them regularly.
Women in PA society
Palestinian child bride of 12 “became 17” to marry older man, couple married for 75 years 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Oct. 14, 2017
Official PA TV program Palestine This Morning, on Abu Wajdi and Sara Al-Qassem who have been married for 75 years

Official PA TV host:
"Tell us how did you meet your wife?"
Palestinian man Abu Wajdi Al-Qassem:
"She is my cousin. She was born abroad and lived [there] with her family. At the time, her father said to everyone: 'When we come to Palestine, this girl is intended for Abu Wajdi Al-Qassem.'"
(PA TV host): "
How old was she?"
Palestinian man Abu Wajdi Al-Qassem:
"Right when she was born she was given to me in my absence, but when she came [here] she was 12. (Laughing) She was 12. However, in Islam it is permissible to add years to one’s age, so the sheikh at the time gave her 5 years, and she became 17."
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Fatah official condemns honor killings, violence against Palestinian women 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 3, 2017
Op-ed by Muwaffaq Matar, Fatah Revolutionary Committee member and regular columnist for the official PA daily, calling for change in Palestinian society's attitude towards women and violence against women.

Headline: "Murder for [family] honor - terror and racism"
      "All people are born free, with equal rights and value. Every person has the right to realize his freedom without discrimination on the basis of gender. Equality between men and women in all political, civil, financial, social, and cultural rights is a set goal. Discrimination against women constitutes a violation of the principles of human rights...
If we wish to liberate our society from the octopus grip of this crime (i.e., honor killings), we must purify our outlook, our books, and our heritage from the sanctification of killing for God and honor and from the glorification of weapons... We need a fundamental change, secure laws, clarity, honesty, and enlightened attitudes from religious figures, jurists, and politicians... and above all, we need a revolution in education."
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PA TV supports Israeli law against polygamy 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, July 9, 2017
Official PA TV program Keepers of Our Flame, on Arab women in Israel, hosting Israeli Arab Naela Awad from the Israeli NGO Women Against Violence

Women Against Violence activist Naela Awad: "It can be seen that despite there being a law against polygamy in the State [of Israel], the implementation of this law [has not yet taken place]."
Official PA TV host: "We support this law, to a certain extent."
Naela Awad: "Certainly we as feminists support this law, not to a certain extent [but fully]. We support the law and support its implementation."
PA TV interviews first female Islamic religious judge in the PA 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 10, 2017
Official PA TV program Live With Them in Serenity, hosting female Shari’ah Court Judge Khuloud Al-Faqih

Official PA TV host: “When we say [the name] Khuloud Al-Faqih, immediately the first female Shari’ah judge echoes in one’s head – in addition to being the sister of the second female Shari’ah judge, you were the first female judge in Palestine. How was the journey to realizing this aspiration, and how did the dream begin?”

Shari’ah Court Judge Khuloud Al-Faqih: “We as Palestinians believe that rights are being taken from us by force. Palestinian women have been prevented from receiving this position without any justified reason… In the end, the appointment to this position is not [just] a success for Khuloud Al-Faqih, but a success for every woman.”

Click "full article" for a longer excerpt from the interview
PA Ministry of Women's Affairs expresses concern over rise in murder of women in the Gaza Strip 
Source: Amad, independent Palestinian news website, Apr. 23, 2017
Headline: "The [PA] Ministry of Women's Affairs expresses concern over the escalation in crimes of murdering women in the Gaza Strip"
     "The [PA] Ministry for Women's Affairs expressed great sorrow and concern over the rise in the extent of violence and murder against women in recent days, in the shadow of the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and the rise in the amount of Israeli violations of human rights.
This evening, Sunday [April 23, 2017], the ministry strongly condemned all of the violence and murder being committed against women in a press release. The ministry demanded that the relevant parties take firm legal steps to stop all forms of the crimes of violence against women, and particularly the crimes of murder. This is in order to prevent the perpetrators from evading punishment, whether the goal was theft or protecting the honor of the family, or due to the use of drugs, which muddle a person's brain and humanity. [The ministry said that] the first of these steps must be the enforcement of the law that considers crimes of murdering women to be crimes of deliberate murder and not accepting any justification for mitigating a sentence, allowing the perpetrator to evade punishment…
The ministry also demanded to remove the strangling blockade from the Gaza Strip in order to improve the financial situation, which has led to a worrying rise in the rates of unemployment and poverty, along with the quick legislation of laws that will guarantee the elimination of violence and discrimination."
PA TV: Viewers who use "beatings and violence to solve their marital problems" to obey the Quran's "religious rules for beatings" 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Apr. 1, 2017

Official PA TV reporter on Talk of the Land:
“To those who use beatings and violence to solve their marital problems: Carefully read the Quranic verse again [Sura 4:34]. There are solutions before giving beatings. If you have to, there are religious rules for beatings that must be obeyed. Guys, the goal of the beatings is rebuke in a way that does not cause injury. You can even go ask someone about it.”
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The verse indicated is: “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand” (Quran, Sura 4:34, Sahih International translation).
PA official: Palestinian mothers of terrorist “Martyrs”honored, compared to Al-Khansa who rejoiced when sons died in battle 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Mar. 28, 2017
Headline: “Al-Husseini honored mothers of prisoners from Jerusalem”

“[PA] Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and District Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Al-Husseini noted the sacrifice of Palestinian women, and Jerusalem [women] in particular, and their role in the path of freedom and independence on which the Palestinian procession is walking.
These statements were made yesterday morning [March 27, 2017], during a tribute ceremony for a group of mothers of prisoners from Jerusalem and female workers of the district and ministry at the district headquarters in the Al-Barid neighborhood [of northeast Jerusalem]…
Al-Husseini said: ‘Palestinian mothers continue in one way or another to be absent from the ranks of the ceremonies and the meetings that are planned for Women’s Day, and they celebrate as part of private ceremonies that only the Al-Khansas (see note –Ed.) of Palestine know how to do, in expectation of people who will bless them over the death of their sons the Martyrs (Shahid), prisoners, or wounded for the homeland.’”

Al-Khansa - an Arab woman and poet from the earliest period of Islam (7th century) famous and honored in Islamic tradition for rejoicing when all four of her sons died in battle as Martyrs. She has been lauded by the PA and often presented as a role model for mothers, and the PA has named 8 schools after her.
PA initiates campaign against erasing women’s names from the public space 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 13, 2017
Headline: "A meeting of the My Name is Not Shameful campaign at the [PA] government's General Secretariat"
      "The [PA] government’s General Secretariat yesterday [March 12, 2017] hosted the second meeting of the My Name is Not Shameful campaign, in which all of the employees of the gender units in the government ministries and government institutes participated…
District Deputy Governor of Jericho and the [Jordan] Valley Jamal Rajoub said: 'I personally initiated this campaign when I noticed that during the preparations for the municipal elections in 2016 (in the end, the elections did not take place –Ed.) the names of the women candidates were concealed, as were the names of women on invitations to social events, and primarily weddings.' He said that the concealment of women's names 'constitutes a continuation of the policy of violence towards them and a continuation of the outdated traditions and customs and of a misguided legacy that is as far as possible from religion.’"
Palestinian women's rights group outraged that rapists and murderers receive reduced sentences 
Source: Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Mar. 7, 2017
Headline: "Article 99 murders women twice"
     "The [PA] Ramallah court on Oct. 19 [2016] convicted a man from Tulkarem of rape, in contradiction of the directives of clause 296 of [Palestinian] Penal Law No. 16 of 1960, and sentenced him to manual labor for three years. However, in light of 'the waiver of personal right' (i.e., a legal device by which the victim or the victim's family can waive the victim's rights), it was decided to reduce his sentence to a year and a half, from which the half year he had spent in detention until his trial was deducted. This is according to a press statement issued by the public prosecutor's office.
On the same subject, institutions involved in women's rights, led by Women Media and Development TAM, are preparing to submit a petition to [PA] Prime Minister [Rami Hamdallah] demanding that he revoke and suspend the use of Article 99 of Penal Law No. 16 of 1960 in cases of murder of women, which provides mitigating circumstances to crimes of murder and allows the use of 'the waiver of personal right' as one of the reasons for reducing the punishment, which is reduced up to half, and in this way the criminal is sentenced to [only] a few years, after which he goes free after he committed a terrible crime against his sister, mother, wife, or daughter.
Director of the Women's Courts Project in the TAM organization Victoria Shukri said to [Palestinian news agency] Ma'an that... 'A man who murdered his wife in one of the Palestinian cities is released after two and a half years? Why? Because his [the murderers] family waived the [wife's] personal right after he was sentenced to 15 years.' This is a living example presented by Shukri, who even added: 'The statistics show that in 95% of the murders of women in Palestine the personal right is waived.'
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Gaza inequality: Woman sentenced to death by hanging for murdering husband, men who murder women receive reduced sentences 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 21, 2016
Headline: “Gaza: A women’s rights center demands to cancel the death sentence that was imposed on Nahla Abu Anza”

“The Center for Women’s Legal Research and Consulting [in Gaza] strongly condemned the death sentence that a court of first instance (i.e., a trial court where legal proceedings are begun) in Khan Yunis imposed on Oct. 5, [2016,] on Nahla Abu Anza, 26, a resident of the village of Abasan Al-Jadida, east of Khan Yunis, after she was convicted of the premeditated murder of her husband Riyad Abu Anza, 36. This is the first legal case of its kind in the last 20 years of the history of Palestinian law in which a death sentence by hanging is imposed on a woman.

[Click full article for more information]
Over 87,000 Palestinian women are paid less than minimum wage 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 5, 2016
Headline: “Female workers who were swallowed up by the exploitation – 87,000 women do not receive minimum wage, and there are no complaints out of fear of ‘losing’ the position”
     “The time has come to go to work, and Hanan Yassin needs to go quickly to the private clinic of two doctors who treat people’s pains – and implant extraordinary pain in her heart. The clinic is full of patients. The young woman, in her thirties, registers the names and organizes the queue. A call comes in from a doctor who asks her to prepare coffee or tea and clean the kitchen and bathroom. Hanan experiences an internal struggle: The undergraduate degree that she received did not help her to obtain a position in which she would be respected, and she was forced to work as a secretary in a private clinic for 800 [Israeli] shekels a month. She finds herself compelled to work in difficult conditions, and she does not receive the minimum wage – 1,450 shekels…
Hanan is just one case that exposes the difficult conditions of many [Palestinian] female workers, who do not receive their elementary right – minimum wage…
Secretary-General of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions Shaher Saed… expressed surprise that complaints are not being submitted, at a time when [success in] suing in court is 100% guaranteed.
He added: ‘However, we cannot submit a complaint without the person whose right was violated turning to us and [lodging a] complaint with us.’ …
Saeb clarified that over 87,000 women do not receive minimum wage. He noted that women are the group that suffers the most from violation [of rights] in everything connected to the minimum wage, and he called to publicly expose everyone who employs women at a salary lower than minimum wage.”
Mufti on PA TV explains how to discipline a wife: “Rebuke her, forsake her in bed, beat her – [use] a small brush or a handkerchief, and the number of blows should not exceed 10” 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Nov. 24, 2016
Academic lecturer on Islam and Mufti Sheikh Samih Hajjaj: “A man wanted to take revenge on [his] wife so he locked her in the bathroom. She is from a respectable family and he locked her up for 25 days. In the morning he would give her pita bread, a plate of red pepper, and a beating with a rubber pipe. In the evening he would give her a plate of red pepper, pita bread, and a beating with a rubber pipe. For 25 days. On the 25th day he didn’t pay attention and left the bathroom door open, may Allah protect us all. She fled to her parents’ home. ‘Why did you do this, sir?’ He said: ‘Didn’t you read the Quran? Allah said: “But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them”’ ... Even if he had acted gradually, he did not have to beat her in this way. ‘[First] advise them.’ Let’s say that a husband senses that his wife is lying. First he needs to rebuke her and quote the Quran and Hadith on the ban on lying. If that does not work, he need to forsake her in bed... The [Muslim] scholars said that the beating can be with a small brush or a handkerchief, and the number of blows should not exceed 10.”
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Click "full article" for a longer excerpt
Official PA daily reports significant setback in number of women running for election 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 1, 2016
Headline: “The parties marginalize the role of women in political participation”
     “The millions of dollars that the women’s associations, centers for defending women’s rights, and party activists are transferring have not achieved advancement towards strengthening the role of women in political participation, as the presence of women on the lists of candidates for local elections has suffered a substantial setback compared to previous elections. If not for the law requiring the presence of women in one of [both] the first five and the first nine spots, it is possible that women would not appear on the lists at all. This matter raises a long list of speculations regarding this marginalization of women, even by the parties that pretend to protect women’s rights and wave the slogan of strengthening their political participation... Women appeared on most of the candidate lists only because it is required by law, and women do not appear in the first spot on any of the major cities’ lists, except for one list in Nablus. There is a woman in the second spot on another list in the same city, and in the first spot on one of the lists in Gaza City. In Ramallah there is a woman in the third spot on two lists, and in Tubas on one list out of eight. In Jericho there is a woman in the third position on only one list, and that is also how it is in Hebron. On the other lists, women are generally found in the fifth and ninth spots, as they are the positions guaranteed to them by law. Likewise, the rate of women contending in the elections is lower than the previous time, when it reached 25%.

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Palestinian university expels student for hugging his fiancé publicly 
Source: Donia Al-Watan (independent Palestinian news agency), Mar. 21, 2016
Headline: “Video: A hug at Kadoorie University in the West Bank leads to a student being expelled”
      “The administration of Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie (a PA government university –Ed.) decided to expel one of its students from the university due to conduct contradicting campus regulations, but allowed him the right to appeal. The expulsion decision was made against a student who hugged his fiancé on campus after putting an engagement ring on her finger, and the disciplinary committee that met about his case saw this as ‘something that offends the public sensibilities.’ Dean of Student Affairs Jamal Bishara told the Dooz website: ‘According to university regulations – whether the student meant to or not – he violated the university’s regulations, and did something that offended public sensibilities and the university’s good name. Therefore, the natural inclination [in response] to this transgression is expulsion.’ Bishara added that the university administration believes that Palestinian society is a conservative society, and ‘since the student admitted that he made the mistake, the only option is expulsion, but the student has the right to appeal, and the university’s president has not yet approved the expulsion decision.’”
Palestinian attorney: The Israeli labor law is very good but Palestinian middlemen steal half or two thirds of women’s salaries 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Mar. 16, 2016

Attorney Khaled Dukhi of Worker’s Hotline:
"Israeli labor law is a very good law regarding workers' rights, for both men and women. Israeli law does not differentiate between a worker who has entered Israel illegally or legally... Unfortunately, even though it is very good, in practice, the law has become very bad for female Palestinian workers. For instance, the Palestinian female workers in the agricultural sector enjoy many rights, like any Israeli worker in the agricultural sector: The salary is higher than the minimum wage, 14 vacation days a year in the first four years, 2,000 shekels convalescence pay [yearly] in the first year and 2,200 shekels in the second and third year for every worker in Israel, payment for holidays, whether Islamic or Jewish. It is a matter of choice."
TV host of 'Workers' Affairs': "But in practice, do they enjoy these rights provided by law?"
Attorney Khaled Dukhi of Worker’s Hotline: "In reality, Palestinian workers – and especially the female Palestinian workers – do not receive these things. Why? You said: “The Palestinian middleman deducts from her [salary].” No, he does not deduct, he shares her salary. In practice, he takes 50 percent, 60 percent, and even 70 percent of her salary. If her daily salary is 180 shekels, in the end she receives 60 shekels. The middleman steals two thirds of her salary. Excuse the word [“steals”], but that is the exact word."
TV host: "Yes, it reflects the reality."
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PA daily op-ed criticizes male Palestinians who murder their female relatives  
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 13, 2016
Headline: “I don’t like anything”
Excerpt of op-ed by Hanan Bakir
    “I don’t like it that men – without stereotyping – in one moment alienate themselves from the woman to an extent that they commit the crime (i.e., femicide).
When a recalcitrant man commits [a crime] and goes to prison for theft, fraud, or even murder, the women – the mother, sister, wife, and daughter – do not abandon him. They go to visit him with delicacies and beverages and everything his heart desires. But if the woman does something that the man considers offensive to him – oh dear! Within a few moments he forgets his sister, or his daughter, and draws his sharp knife. As if he was slaughtering a chicken, his heart is devoid of emotion and he does not even blink! And afterwards he becomes a hero! ...
I do not like the fierce attack of/against a few of the Arab countries, for their negative treatment of refugees, while rights are being violated… [of] these refugees in the countries of their brothers, the Arabs. The Palestinian refugees, nearly 70 years after their Nakba (i.e., "the catastrophe," Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel), still suffer violations and humiliation in the homelands of the Arabs! I do not like the immigrants, who enjoy every kind of social security , allowing them to sleep soundly without worrying about tomorrow, and who are not concerned about the cost of medical treatments and the cost of medicine to treat chronic diseases… and then curse their new society, calling it ‘heretic’ and ‘lost.’”
PA Mufti of Gaza explains how to hit your wife: "Not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding" 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Feb. 8, 2016

Mufti of Gaza Hassan Al-Laham:
"Allah created a solution for this (i.e., marital strife)... Allah said: Warn them [the wives], and separate from them, and hit them, and bring an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. [Only] after this comes divorce. The husband starts with a warning."
PA TV host: "Explain to our viewers the steps a husband should take."
Mufti: "The warning needs to be made politely by the husband to his wife, while he shows good relations, dialogue, respect and humanity. She who stands before you is a human being. She is an independent person and deserves respect."
TV host: "What is the stage after the warning?"
Mufti: "'[Quran:] Warn them [the wives] and separate from them.’... After the warning and separation, comes the hitting - hitting that does not make her ugly. The Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'Do not hit the face and do not make her ugly.' In other words, not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly. No. As it is said [in a Hadith] 'If not for this (i.e., the fear of retaliation), I would give you painful blows with a small brush.’ ... The hitting is not meant to disfigure, harm, or degrade. The hitting will be like a joke... Not a blow that breaks a bone or makes the face ugly, and he will not curse and the like. This hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded, is still found between us (i.e., the couple)."
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Palestinian feminist leadership rejects violence, calls on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work for peace 
Source: WAFA, official PA news agency, Oct. 6, 2015
Headline: “Women Wage Peace calls on the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to sit together”
     “The Women Wage Peace organization and Palestinian feminist leadership supporters called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to sit together and work seriously to achieve a just peace for everyone.
The organization noted in a statement it published that the moral responsibility of the leaders and top officials requires action to stop the current cycle of violence, in order to create true peace that will bring peace and justice.
Likewise, it emphasized that it will stand against any violent action from any side and will continue the struggle for the security and wellbeing of the Palestinian and Israeli children.”
PA daily article opposes violence against women and the cultural norms that encourage it 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 29, 2015
     “According to statistics recorded by the Center of Women’s Affairs in Gaza about the cases of violence reaching the center, 63% of women suffer from marital violence, 63 % believe that the violence has increased following the recent aggression against the Gaza Strip (i.e., Israel’s Operation Protective Edge which aimed at destroying Hamas' terror infrastructure and ability to launch rockets at Israel), 73 % suffer from verbal abuse, 24 % from physical abuse, 29.5 % from mental abuse, 9.4 % from financial abuse and 4.5 % from sexual abuse. Regarding the justifications for violence: 41 % of the women agreed that violence was justified if the woman leaves home without notifying her husband, while 74 % agreed that violence was justified if she neglected her children... In this context, Zainab Al-Ghneimi, head of the Women’s Legal Counseling Center, said: ‘Married women are not forthcoming with these details about violence at the beginning, probably out of shame, and because the prevailing culture forbids discussing such secrets. This stems from the lack of a proper sexual ethics in our society...’ When asked for the reasons that may bring a man to act violently towards his wife, Al-Ghneimi responded that, in her opinion, there were many reasons, but that the main reason is probably that the man believes he has bought the woman and paid for her, and therefore she has become his property and must obey his orders. She clarified that unfortunately, this is the culture of the entire society, and that [Palestinian] laws give him the right of ownership, based on the man being the guardian, and he is the one who commands and prohibits..."
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Fatah official's FB post glorifies "heroic female Martyr" who murdered 37 
Source: Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul, Mar. 8, 2015
Image and text on the Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Hussein Al-Sheikh

Posted text:
“In the Palestinian memory there are women before whom it is impossible not to stand in honor and admiration
For March 8 (i.e., International Women’s Day), thousands of blessings for the soul of heroic female Martyr (Shahida) Dalal Mughrabi (i.e., terrorist who led murder of 37, 12 of them children), and to all of the Palestinian female Martyrs, as well as the female prisoners, the mothers of the prisoners and Martyrs, the wounded women, the working women, and all women of Palestine who stand firm and deal with the hardships and difficulties of life alongside the men.”

The image shows an elderly Palestinian woman with a rock in her hand poised to throw it, and in the background a man with a video camera and a Palestinian boy.

Dalal Mughrabi led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, known as the Coastal Road massacre, in 1978, when she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.
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