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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
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.
Abbas makes punishment for honor killings identical to other forms of murder 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 23, 2015
Op-ed by attorney Dr. Ihab Amr of the PA Justice Ministry
     “In order to diminish the number of murders for motives of honor, his Excellency the President [Mahmoud Abbas] published a resolution on May 11, 2014 to amend Article 98 of Penal Law 16 of 1960, which is in force in the West Bank… abolishing the pretext (i.e., mitigating circumstance) that reduces the penalty for femicide for so-called ‘motives of honor’ – a pretext used regularly [by defendants] in the past before the above-mentioned abolition. The amendment classifies murders for motives of honor as identical to any other [form of] murder in terms of the penalty. The decree to institute the amendment of the law reads as follows: ‘The mitigating circumstance shall apply to a person who has committed a crime in a state of rage resulting from an act of injustice committed by the victim against the perpetrator, posing a threat to the latter. The mitigating circumstance shall not apply in the event that the act was committed against a woman on the pretext of honor.’”
PA daily columnist condemns violence carried out against Muslim women in the name of Islam 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2015
Op-ed by Hanan Bakir, regular columnist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
     “The Charlie Hebdo commotion has subsided, and the discussion over free speech, its borders and criteria has been ignited… France has recognized its responsibility for marginalizing the refugees and failing to implement a wise policy for their integration into society. Will we [too] admit that we are responsible, to a certain degree, for the negative way in which we portray our Arab culture, without this being construed as self-flagellation?... We are living in the West, and we are witnessing sickening behavior, whether on the part of individuals or some of the clergy, and the host countries are not blind to what is happening and being said in Friday sermons and Islamist circles. Furthermore, their eyes look around, and there are many who volunteer to spy on their coreligionists – for money, not out of loyalty to those who satisfy their hunger and provide them a safe haven…"

Click "Full article" for a longer excerpt from the op-ed
PA daily reports on study: 53% of Palestinian women have suffered from violence 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 28, 2014
     “A specialized study has confirmed that 53% of [Palestinian] women have been exposed to violence – 63.3% of them once – and that 18% of non-married young women have been exposed to physical, psychological and sexual violence. In 45.9% of the cases, the violence was perpetrated by the [victim’s] father, while in 25.5% of the cases – by her brother. These findings were presented at a conference organized by the Women’s Affairs Team yesterday [Nov. 27, 2014], with the aim of presenting the results of the study which examined the services offered to victims of violence… In addition, the evaluation of the functioning of the governmental health institutions revealed that the medical insurance [offered by the government] does not cover the costs of the treatment [necessary as a result of] the violence…”
PA daily article: Honor killings used as an excuse to kill women for other reasons; honor killings should be made a crime  
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 27, 2014
     “Despite the efforts of the women’s organizations participating in the Forum to Combat Violence Against Women and the human rights organizations, the murders for [family] ‘honor’ continue to occur – [in fact,] their number is on the rise...  In most cases, the motive is inheritance. Additional motives may include the victim’s discovery of a family member’s secret – for example, that they had collaborated [with Israel]. Why is it nonetheless claimed that the murder was committed in defense of ‘honor’? Because this is the legally accepted claim to alleviate the verdict. The murderer uses the motive of family ‘honor’ as a sure way of shirking [the penalty for] his crime, by exploiting the mediating circumstances prescribed by the current penal code... The murder of even one woman is too much. What will happen if that number reaches 30 – not including the cases that go unreported, and which do not appear in the statistics. Until laws [are passed] that define the murder of women for motives of ‘honor’ as a crime punishable by law, women will continue to be murdered using the claim of ‘honor.’”

Click "Full article" for more excerpts from the article
PA daily reports on women’s study: 62% of Palestinian women are denied their inheritance 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 17, 2014
     “Sixty-two percent of the families refused to grant women their right to inheritance when they demanded it, while 25% repeatedly postponed [the issue]. This data appeared in a study carried out by the Women’s Center for Legal and Social Advising, together with the Young Christians’ Association at the Gaza Women’s Center and the Church Aid Institution. The study was financed by the European Union, as part of the Right of Inheritance project … Nasreen Qawas, the project coordinator, told Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that… women in Palestine are among the groups that are most marginalized and discriminated against in all spheres of life – economically, socially, culturally and politically. In addition, she noted that despite the rise in the number of women in the work force over the past decade, their number was still small, amounting to 17.4% of all women of working age in 2012, as opposed to 10.3% in 2001.”
PA Minister of Women’s Affairs pushes ‎Penal Law that will protect women from ‎violence 
Source: Al-Ayyam, May 21, 2014
     ‎“[PA] Minister of Women's Affairs Rabiha ‎Dhiab said yesterday [May 20, 2014] that ‎the finishing touches are currently being ‎put on the proposed Penal Law, and ‎spoke of the law’s importance in stopping ‎crimes of femicide. Dhiab spoke during ‎the sit-down strike held in front of Prime ‎Minister [Rami Hamdallah]’s Headquarters ‎in Ramallah, at the request of Tawasul ‎‎(contact) centers, the ministry, and ‎women’s groups such as the Palestinian ‎Non-Governmental Organization Against ‎Domestic Violence Against Women (Al Muntada),‎to demand the bill’s ratification. ‎In addition, she praised [PA] President ‎Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to cancel ‎mitigating circumstances in [cases] of ‎femicide… ‎
In a position paper published on its ‎behalf, the Palestinian Non-‎Governmental Organization Against ‎Domestic Violence Against Women (Al Muntada)… ‎expressed its concern about the increase ‎in the rate of femicide cases, which ‎necessitates the publication of a ‎presidential decree ratifying the proposed ‎penal law submitted to the Legislative ‎Council (PA Parliament), the government ‎and the President by the civil social ‎institutions and the National Group for the ‎‎[formulation of the] Bill. In addition, he ‎noted that an honorary convention, [which ‎is to serve] until the [bill’s] ratification, was ‎recently published with the common ‎consent of all PLO factions.”‎
Abbas amends law on honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 20, 2014
     “[PA] Chairman Mahmoud Abbas published a legally binding decree amending Article 98 of the [Palestinian] Penal Law No. 12 of 1960.
Hassan Al-Ouri, legal advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the significance of this amendment was its abrogation of mitigating circumstances in cases in which the act is committed against a woman for motives of what is referred to as ‘family honor.’ According to Al-Ouri, this means that the court has no authority to invoke mitigating circumstances [in the defendant’s favor] when the victim is revealed to it [the court] to be a woman, and when the crime was committed for motives of what is referred to as ‘family honor.’ …
Article 98 of the [Palestinian] Penal Law No. 12 of 1960 will read as follows: ‘Mitigating circumstances shall apply in cases in which the crime was carried out in a state of extreme anger, as a result of a serious and unjust act…’ The amendment adds: ‘Mitigating circumstances shall not be granted to the perpetrator if the crime was committed against a woman for motives of honor.’
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) welcomed this decision. Baha Al-Saadi, the [UN] HRC representative in the Palestinian territories, told Reuters: ‘We welcome this move, which we consider a great step forward…’ He added that the council had conducted a study of cases of murder committed under the pretext of honor, and had concluded that an amendment of the law was necessary...
This decision came in the wake of a steep rise in cases of murder of women – most recently, the murder of a woman by her husband in a Shari’ah law court in Birzeit, north of Ramallah, and the strangling to death of another woman by her husband in one of the refugee camps.”
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Abbas publishes legal amendment ‎against perpetrators of hate crimes ‎against women 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 20, 2014
     ‎“[PA] Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ‎published a legally binding decree ‎amending Article 98 of the [Palestinian] ‎Penal Law No. 12 of 1960. ‎Hassan ‎ Al-Ouri, legal advisor to PA ‎President Mahmoud Abbas, said the ‎significance of this amendment was its ‎abrogation of mitigating circumstances in ‎cases in which the act is committed ‎against a woman for motives of what is ‎referred to as ‘family honor.’ According to ‎Al-Ouri, this means that the court has no ‎authority to invoke mitigating ‎circumstances [in the defendant’s favor] ‎when the victim is revealed to it [the court] ‎to be a woman, and when the crime was ‎committed for motives of what is referred to ‎as ‘family honor.’ … ‎
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) ‎welcomed this decision. Baha Al-Saadi, ‎the [UN] HRC representative in the ‎Palestinian territories, told Reuters: ‘We ‎welcome this move, which we consider a ‎great step forward…’ He added that the ‎council had conducted a study of cases of ‎murder committed under the pretext of ‎honor, and had concluded that an ‎amendment of the law was necessary.‎..
This decision came in the wake of a steep ‎rise in cases of femicide – most recently, ‎the murder of a woman by her husband in ‎a Shari’ah law court in Birzeit, north of ‎Ramallah, and the strangling to death of ‎another woman by her husband in one of ‎the refugee camps.”‎
PA daily reports on higher number of ‎femicide cases and necessity of ‎combatting it 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 16, 2014
     ‎“The UN Organization of Women in ‎Palestine has expressed its concern over ‎the femicide that occurred this week, ‎which raised the number of femicide ‎cases in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to ‎‎14 since the beginning of this year [2014] ‎‎– an average of a crime against women ‎every ten days.‎
In addition, it [the Organization] noted that ‎the Palestinian Government had ‎‎‘demonstrated a resolute political will to ‎end violence against women through the ‎adoption of a zero-tolerance policy on ‎violence against women, by realizing the ‎Millennium Development Goals and ‎adopting a national strategy to combat ‎violence against women for the years ‎‎2011-2019, and most recently, the ‎ratification of the Convention on the ‎Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination ‎against Women.’ The Organization ‎emphasized that this political will must be ‎translated into urgent concrete action, and ‎called for the urgent implementation of the ‎Serious Case Review mechanism ‎coordinated by the Ministry of Women’s ‎Affairs.”‎
Palestinian activist calls for Abbas to publish ‎new presidential decree protecting women ‎from violence 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 6, 2014
Op-ed by Atef Abu Al-Rub:
     ‎“Lately, Palestinian society, which ‎considers itself united and crime-free, has ‎been shaken by a series of grave social ‎events. Among the clearly prominent ‎crimes were assaults on women – ‎including murder, attempted murder, and ‎other acts considered to be assaults on ‎women… ‎
Feminist activist Nada Tawil says: ‘Since ‎the beginning of the year, the number of ‎femicides perpetrated in safe places, ‎including even courts of justice (allusion ‎to the murder of a woman in a Shari’ah ‎law court in the beginning of May, 2014. ‎Ed.) has risen to 13. Feminist movement ‎groups working to form coalitions to ‎advance the development of the Penal ‎Code and the Personal Status Law, have ‎finished their drafts and submitted them ‎for approval to the Palestinian Parliament ‎‎(Legislative Council) – but it [the ‎Parliament] is [currently] suspended ‎because of the rift [between Fatah and ‎Hamas]. Therefore, we asked the ‎President [Mahmoud Abbas], by way of ‎memoranda, to publish a presidential ‎decree abrogating the mitigating excuses ‎for murder. [The decree] was indeed ‎published, but with loopholes – the issue ‎was left to the discretion of the legal ‎system, creating a loophole in the law. We ‎demand that the President publish an ‎additional decree until the Legislative ‎Council convenes.’”‎
Public march cancelled because intermingling of sexes might lead "women to sin and fall into traps" 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 19, 2014
Op-ed by Jawad Boulus, a columnist for the official PA daily
     “I don’t know if there are organizational ties between the groups that opposed a series of social and cultural activities that were supposed to take place in a number of our villages in the Galilee and the Triangle (a concentration of Israeli-Arab towns and villages adjacent to the Green Line in northern Israel). The organizers of a march in Baqa Al-Gharbiya, the purpose of which was to allow all family members to participate in an educational entertainment activity… were forced to cancel it to prevent a ‘civil war’ – according to an announcement [published] by those in charge. Prior to this, [activists] distributed notices and pamphlets, signed by Islamic movements, which called for the cancellation of the event on the grounds that it was inconsistent with the principles of the Islamic Shari’ah [law], as the intermingling [of men and women] might allow the participating women to sin and fall into traps.
In Acre, a group of members of Takfir (i.e., Muslims who accuse other Muslims of heresy) protested a performance by the Homeland On a String group and prevented the audience from entering the concert hall, claiming that in one of its satirical and critical performances, the group had attacked the Muslim Brotherhood... We are on the brink of a nationwide phenomenon that reflects the growth of rapidly spreading Takfir ideas. The proponents of these ideas are no different from their predecessors in the Islamic and Takfir political movements, and so they follow their example and strive to enforce what they believe to be their right and duty of protecting their faith – [their faith] as they understand it."

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Female journalist honored for "supporting the prisoners' issue" 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 30, 2014
     “The Fatah branch of central Hebron, the [Palestinian] Prisoners’ Club and the Released Prisoners’ Committee honored female journalist Abir Al-Shamali, who hosts the In a Fighter’s Home program on PA TV’s satellite channel. This [was done] in appreciation of her role in supporting the prisoners’ issue and her continuous contact with the prisoners’ mothers, wives and families in the Hebron District and in all districts of the homeland.”
PA TV host receives journalism award for show that glorifies terror 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 14, 2014
Photo: Journalist Manal Seif accepts the [Palestinian] Woman Media Award.
Photo: Journalist Manal Seif accepts the [Palestinian] Women Media Award.
     “The Palestine TV program For You host, Manal Seif, was awarded the Palestinian Women Media Award for 2014 yesterday, Thursday [March 13, 2014]. The recognition [ceremony] for Seif and Director of Information of the [Palestinian] Prisoners’ Club Amani Sarahaneh was held in the presence of Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate Chairman Abd Al-Nasser Al-Najjar, Deputy [PA] Minister of Communications Mahmoud Khalifa, Director of the Amin [Arab Media Internet] Network Abu Akar and a number of female journalists…
Abu Akar said that the decision of the committee responsible for selecting the winner was based on the importance of the role of the prisoners’ cause and the roles of journalists Seif and Sarahneh in serving the prisoners’ cause.”
From WAFA, official PA news agency
Click to view bulletin

Note: PMW has documented that the PA TV program For You hosted by the prize winning journalist is used for honoring terrorists. Host Manal Seif has defended this practice and referred to three planners of suicide bombings who are serving 156 life sentences for murder as "heroes." Click to view previous PMW bulletin on this story.
Young girl at official PA ceremony: Terrorist murderer Dalal taught us “how to be free women” 
Source: Official PA TV Live, Mar. 12, 2014
Official PA TV Live broadcast the Qalqilya municipality’s ceremony honoring District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam on [International] Women’s Day.
The event was attended by District Governor of Qalqilya Rafe’ Rawajbeh, PA Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf, Mayor of Qalqilya Othman Daoud, District Governor of Ramallah and El-Bireh Laila Ghannam and Fatah Secretary in Qalqilya Mahmoud Walwil.

A young girl leads Laila Ghannam on stage and says:
“They said: ‘She’s a woman.’
I said: ‘What does it matter, brothers; we’re all revolutionaries and fighters.’
They said: ‘Landless.’
We said: ‘Not for long.’
They said: ‘A black [refugee] tent.’
We said: ‘We have grown used to suffering.’
Oh mother, I have donned a shrouds [made from] from the sash of the revolution,
Oh life, Dalal Mughrabi taught us how to keep our heads high
Faced with grief, we will keep our heads high
Despite the darkness of oppression and the callousness of the jailor,
Oh Dalal, we will complete the journey.
We have learned from your sacrifice how to be free women.”

Note: Dalal Mughrabi - led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history in 1978, when she and other terrorists hijacked a bus and killed 37 civilians, 12 of them children.
Abbas orders legal committee to review women`s rights and amend discriminatory laws 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 7, 2014
     “Yesterday [March 6, 2014], [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the government to establish a legal committee to comprehensively review all sections of the various laws that discriminate against women, and to prepare the necessary amendments.
The President’s legal advisor, Hassan Al-Awri, said that the President’s orders state that a legal committee will be established by the government, in coordination with the relevant bodies and civil institutions. He added that the President had emphasized the urgency of proposing the necessary recommendations and amendments, which will allow for the protection of women’s rights and the provision of necessary legal protection, as well as for increasing the severity of the penalties for crimes against women. Al-Awri noted that the President’s orders also called for amending any section open to interpretation, or [any section] which implies that the criminal may use mitigation arguments to lessen the severity of the penalty or avoid punishment altogether in cases in which the victim is a woman.
Al-Awri emphasized that the President is providing all possible means for the protection of women, and stressed the need for official and unofficial bodies to take responsibility for them [by], among other things, creating a legal apparatus that will provide full protection for women, especially in view of the rise in violence against them, [which goes] by various names.”
From WAFA, official PA news agency
Click to view bulletin
Women stage sit-in strike demanding law reform on domestic violence 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 7, 2014
     “The Forum of Palestinian Civil Organizations for the Struggle to End Violence Against Women and [other] social organizations demanded the approval of the proposed penal law and of the law for protecting families from violence.
These demands were made as part of a sit-in strike held by dozens of women yesterday [March 6, 2014] across from the Muqata’a (the PA's Presidential Headquarters) in Ramallah, with the participation of [representatives from] several human rights centers and women’s institutions…
It should be noted that the women’s rights centers documented 14 murder cases in 2012, which were considered “honor killings.” In 2013, 28 murders of women were recorded, and since the beginning of this year [2014], 8 women were murdered on similar grounds.”
From WAFA, official PA news agency
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