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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 daily op-ed promotes women’s rights and argues women are better leaders than men 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 30, 2013
Op-ed by Muhammad Ali Taha:
Headline:
“Waiting for a female president”
     “Kings and presidents have committed physical, economic and social crimes throughout history – from Alexander [the Great] (king of Macedon in ancient Greece) to [US President] George Bush Jr.; from Nebuchadnezzar (king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, c. 605-562 BCE) to Saddam [Hussein], [Iraqi Prime Minister] Al-Maliki and [ruler of Libya Muammar] Gaddafi; from the great Pharaoh to [Egyptian presidents] Mubarak and Morsi. [...] To the best of my knowledge, history has not known one female ruler who committed crimes.
Men have ruled our Arab world since the caliphs who followed a righteous path and until today. In the twentieth century, kings and generals sat on the seat of power and the Arab world did not know democratic elections, praise Allah, except for the elections that were held in the Palestinian Authority. [...] How can a woman who aspires to be elected president stand out in the shadow of tyrannical, oppressive regimes that do not honor women and do not acknowledge [their] abilities?
How can a state elect a woman to lead it while it forbids her to drive a car? How can a nation allow a woman to head it while most men believe a woman should leave her home only twice during her life – the first time for her husband’s house and the second time for the grave?
How will she be allowed to become president when she is not allowed out of the house without a chaperone? The Arab nation tried kings, presidents, emirs, sultans, generals… and they brought disaster on the nations and made them backward. It didn’t even try for one woman to reach the seat of power in democratic elections and for her to be interested in education, health, culture, the economy and people.”
PA Minister: Women have played an important role in armed resistance against Israel 
Source: Official PA TV Live, Dec. 23, 2013
Official PA TV Live broadcast a conference on Bedouin women in Palestinian society that took place in Hebron. According to independent Palestinian news agency Ma’an, the conference was sponsored by the District Governor of Hebron, Kamel Hamid, the PA Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the PA Ministry of Local Government. The conference was held in cooperation with the Catholic Relief Services, CRS and funded by the US Agency for International Development, USAID.
PA Minister of Women's Affairs Rabiha Dhiab: “Everyone talks about the Palestinian woman and her important role throughout the struggle’s various stages and throughout the century. She was the man’s fundamental partner in all areas of life. Likewise, she participated in the struggle together with him – side by side in the armed or military struggle and she was also a prisoner and a captive… This doesn’t mean that our entire nation has to go to prison, not necessarily. We must act in all directions…
The problem of violence isn’t a local problem; it’s a global problem… We are under occupation; it cannot be that we will continue sitting idly, waiting for the occupation to leave. We must act because this is part of our firm stand, part of our awareness of everything that is taking place in the region. Therefore, we are always willing and ready to support the Palestinian woman and also receive support from our brothers, the men.
I think Yasser Arafat said one year at the Conference on Women: ‘We don’t want to only increase the woman’s participation; we favor her filling a full role in this rifle pit, behind this weapon, alongside her brother.’ I don’t mean only the [actual] weapon here, but the weapon is knowledge, hope and all these issues.”
PA daily reports on statistics of Palestinian honor killings  
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 26, 2013
     “On average, at least one Palestinian woman is murdered every month for this reason (i.e., family honor) by her relatives and the penal code in force shows leniency in punishing the perpetrators and gives them reduced sentences that anger supporters of women’s rights and causes. However, there are sources that say that more than two women are murdered every month.”
Organization documents murder cases of Palestinian women; records 27 ‘honor’ killings in 2013 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Nov. 6, 2013
     “[Attorney Ashraf] Abu Hayya [from the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling] noted the importance of accuracy when citing figures of femicide and said that the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling has been monitoring and documenting cases of femicide in Palestinian society, regardless of the circumstances of murder. [His statements were] directed at the sources speaking about statistics pertaining to the issue, which have noted that the number of cases of murder [perpetrated] from motives of what is referred to as ‘honor’ had reached 27 this year.
In addition, he stressed the need for accuracy and the need to distinguish between the number of female murder victims recorded by the Center and the circumstances of the murders, and said: ‘It is a mistake to think that all the women murdered were murdered for motives of what is referred to as honor.’
In addition, he noted that the number of female victims recorded by the Center over the course of this year [2013] has, so far, reached 27, and that it was still too early to establish the reasons and motives for these murders, since the reasons and motives are not immediately evident, but require a series of steps [involving] investigation, monitoring and documentation in order to be understood…
Attorney Latifa Sahwil… explained that these figures included [only] the cases of women known to the Center – [murders] into the circumstances of which it had carried out a process of investigation and documentation, and that these figures are likely to be inaccurate, since part of the murder investigations are secret and have not been made public, and since the Center faces serious difficulties in collecting and documenting information.”
Sharp increase recorded in number of honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 29, 2013
     ‎“An insane increase in the number of ‎femicide cases in Palestinian society from ‎the beginning of this year until Sept. 22, ‎‎2013. The Women’s Center for Legal Aid ‎and Counselling has recorded 25 cases of ‎femicide for various motives in the [West] ‎Bank and Gaza Strip… This number is the ‎double that of the figure recorded in 2012, ‎when 13 women were murdered – a figure ‎‎[3] times greater than [that recorded in] ‎‎2011, when 4 women were murdered… ‎
The Women’s Center said femicide is a ‎crime for which the perpetrators must ‎receive the most serious penalties, ‎regardless of the identity or gender of the ‎criminal and the motives behind the crime. ‎‎[The Center added that] as of today, there ‎can be no further discussion regarding ‎the context to acts of femicide, since ‎women are murdered for being women, ‎while the male criminals are rewarded for ‎being men. They receive an exemption or ‎a more lenient punishment because the ‎victim was a woman.”‎
Official PA daily decries increase in female honor killings: "It is the male who is the perpetrator of all ‎crimes‎" 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 23, 2013
Op-ed by Adel Abd Al-Rahman, regular ‎columnist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
     ‎“‘Erase the shame’ of the family is the ‎euphemism used for the forsaking of the ‎lives of Palestinian women. As of ‎yesterday [Sept. 22, 2013], 26 young ‎women have paid with their lives this year! ‎‎... Although the Palestinian laws have ‎relatively improved regarding the ‎safeguarding of certain women’s rights, ‎the laws and legislators [still] stand ‎helpless and submissive before the power ‎of conventions and customs…‎
The men forget that it was they who ‎instilled abominable acts and the ‎desecration of the sanctity of girls and ‎women in all times and all periods, ‎because it is the male who is the ‎perpetrator of all crimes, and because ‎abomination and adultery don’t occur of ‎themselves. The age of miracles, of the ‎Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, peace be ‎upon Him, is over, and was a unique ‎event that will never repeat itself.”‎
Female PA minister proposes treating perpetrators of honor killings "like any other murder" 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 23, 2013
‎     “[PA] Minister of Women's Affairs Rabiha ‎Dhiab said… yesterday [Sept. 22, 2013] ‎that she would submit the draft of the ‎proposed Palestinian Penal Law to the ‎government for discussion, ahead of its ‎ratification [by the government] and its ‎submission to the President for approval. ‎‎[Her statement came] as part of her ‎response to the third case of femicide this ‎month and the fifteenth since the ‎beginning of the year…‎
She emphasized that the draft did not ‎contain sections [granting] mitigating ‎circumstances in cases of femicide, and ‎that it considers femicide a crime like any ‎other murder, on which the harshest ‎punishment is imposed, so that the ‎murderer is not released after two ‎months.”‎
Religious ruling does not castigate man for having sex with wife “against her will” 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 7, 2013
Headline: “Religious Rulings”
Question: I had daytime sex with my wife against her will during Ramadan. What is the ruling of Shari’ah law in such a matter?
Answer: Having sex with a woman during daylight hours of Ramadan is one of the acts that break the fast, and someone who does such a thing violates the sanctity of the month and has performed a forbidden act. You must fast an additional day in place [of the day the sex occurred], as the Prophet said ‘fast [a] day.’ And you must atone by fasting for two consecutive months, and if you cannot do so, feed 60 poor people… As for the woman who was forced to have sex by her husband, she must fast only one additional day in place [of the day the sex occurred], and she does not have to atone.”
Op-ed: UN document on prevention of violence against women will promote homosexuality and promiscuity 
Source: Al-Quds, Apr. 26, 2013
Headline: “A critical Shari’ah view of the UN document entitled ‘The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and young women’”
by Hassam Al-Din Afana of Al-Quds University, in his weekly Questions and Answers column in the religion section of the Palestinian daily, Al-Quds
     “The UN’s definition of violence groups all the differences between the way men and women are treated under the term ‘gender-related crimes,’ thereby [implying] that there should be complete equality between men and women in [all] aspects of life and law!...
Those who follow what the enemies of the Islamic nation are introducing into its religion and culture in order to destroy its essence and uniqueness believe that ‘gender’ is not just a word, but a whole philosophy of Western values [aimed] against our Islamic society, whose purpose is to erase all differences between men and women...
The advocates of ‘gender’ are striving to put an end to the roles of family, father and mother in Muslim society, and for the rejection of marriage; they also call for women’s ownership of their bodies, which is clearly a call for promiscuity, for the rejection of reproduction and the permission of abortions and homosexuality. And the person who claimed that ‘gender’ is a tool in the hands of homosexuality spoke the truth…
Likewise, [the agreements contain] very dangerous legal demands [stipulated] by the UN Commission on [the status of] women...For example, a woman, who received her inheritance according to Islamic law, whose husband married another [woman] or had sexual relations with her against her will, may submit a complaint against her country to the UN, accusing it of discrimination and violence!"

For a complete translation click "full article.''
PA daily article: PA has taken steps to protect women from “honor killings,” but more needed 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Apr. 11, 2013
Headliine: “Dhiab: There is a desire and a commitment among the politicians to protect women from violence.”
     “Minister of Women’s Affairs Rabiha Dhiab said: ‘The politicians very much want to combat violence against women, both the President and the government.’ …
Nonetheless, feminist activist and head of the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development Amal Khreishe said that even though a number of presidential directives and government decisions indicate the politicians’ will, the desired results have not yet been achieved.
In addition, she said: ‘A simple check of the workings of the courts and their decisions in cases dealing with violence toward women, called ‘honor killings’, proves that in practice things have not changed. This is so because the authority of a judge’s [personal] evaluation still helps the criminal avoid punishment, and a sentence can be lessened because of a number of considerations, like introducing unofficial rulings, or personal beliefs of the judge.’”
Film director on PA TV emphasizes importance of focusing on Palestinian women’s experience under “occupation” 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Apr. 5, 2013
A PA TV interview with Palestinian film director Layali Kilani:
PA TV host: “All the NGOs who get outside funding from foreign entities focus on issues of women in society, and they don’t go near [matters concerning] the occupation or the occupation’s actions. [The movie] If They Take Him did touch on this, and it was very daring... How was this done? Was it easy? ...”
Layali Kilani: “We have a bit of a problem with this. Somebody can tell you that a woman’s problem stems from the fact that she is a woman, and society behaves violently to her because she is a woman, and this happens because of men. But in my opinion, no. We in Palestinian society still have men’s violence against women, but the occupation is also violent towards her. This isn’t easy. We view female Martyrs (Shahids) just like we view male Martyrs. We see [people] wounded, and there are women among them. Why shouldn’t we shed light on these things? In my case, I had an idea to do something about a strong Palestinian woman in society, as part of the ‘I am a Woman’ program. I don’t want to do something about divorce or marriage.”
Host: “And you didn’t come across any opposition... when you presented the topic?”
Kilani: “No, no, no.”
Host: “Foreign funding usually has strings attached: ‘Don’t go near matters having to do with the occupation; focus on women’s issues.’”
Kilani: “But in every film that you prepare, the EU writes: ‘This is the director’s opinion only, and is not the view of the European Union.’ This is where they give us freedom…”
Host [interrupting]: “There’s room [for maneuvering].”
Kilani: “Exactly. Do what you want, but it’s your own personal opinion."
Shari'ah judge: 'Honor' killings are against Islamic law 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 14, 2013
Headline: "Supreme Shari’ah Judge: ‘Honor’ killings are Against Islamic Law."
Ramallah - Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
     "Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is, Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice, published the law’s position regarding honor killings in Palestine on the court’s website. Using evidence, he proved that these crimes are against Islamic law and that this is a growing phenomenon that harms innocent women. [He said that this phenomenon] has no basis in the Quran and that Islam fights this Jahiliyya custom (i.e., the Islamic concept of ignorance of divine guidance, attributed to pre-Islamic times.)"
PA daily: Demonstrators in Bethlehem seek harsher sentences for honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 2, 2012
Headline: "Sit-down strike by women in Bethlehem in condemnation of the crimes of murder of women"
     "Feminist activists condemned the murder of women in the Palestinian territories, at a sit-down strike organized yesterday by the Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy Issues in the [Church of the] Nativity plaza [in Nazareth].
Demonstrators demanded that the Palestinian Parliament (Legislative Council) convene a special session to discuss the murder of women. They criticized the Palestinian press in this matter… and the lenient sentences [imposed] for killing women.
Activist Nadia Harb… said that there are many motives for murdering women, such as inheritance issues, for example, but [the crime] is justified as [a matter of family] honor, so that the killer will receive a lenient sentence."
Palestinian MP calls for change in the "cultural attitudes towards murder of women" 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 15, 2012
Headline: “Hebron conference discusses Violence Against Women”
     “MP Sahar al-Qawasmeh: …37% of married women are abused by their husbands, [a statistic] that necessitates a change in the widespread cultural attitudes towards the murder of women.”
PA daily article condemns honor killings 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 14, 2012
Headline: "Who is defending murderers of women?"
     "Ninety year-old Khadra Mar’i of Bani Na'im in the Hebron district; the girl W.M.Q. (19) of the Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza; Amal Yusuf Akhras (18) of Tulkarem; Nancy Mahmoud Al-Zaboun (19) of Bethlehem, and Randa Khalil Mahariq (34) of Al-Samo'a. Five women who were murdered in the most despicable ways, most of them humiliating and cruel, by first-degree relatives. The most infuriating incident in which the greatest injustice was done, is the case of W.M.Q., whose name has been withheld in order to protect the victim's 'dignity', thereby denying her the most fundamental right of the deceased, to let the public know her real name."
PA daily article denounces honor killings and warns that many cases are misclassified as suicides 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 12, 2012
Headline: "The long wait for legislation"
     "Since the beginning of the year [2012], more than eleven women have fallen victim to murder in the Palestinian [West] Bank and in Gaza, but the victims who were murdered during the month of Ramadan are the ones who aroused the anger of the feminist movements and of society in general – the victim from Tulkarem, who was 'convicted' following her demand to complete higher studies, and whose right to appeal was denied the moment her throat was slit, as her family coldly yawned; the victim from Beit Jala, whose slaughtered body was left abandoned and whose blood drained while onlookers were busy observing and documenting the scenes of horror; a woman from Samo'a in Hebron, who was beaten to death because she dared to defend herself; and a girl from the Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza, who was strangled in the name of [family] 'honor', after she rejected the suitor proposed to her by her family. [All these] incidents in addition to many suspicious murder cases filed under worrisome categories like “suicide,” “drug overdose” and “she fell into the well.”
PA Mufti: A wife may not refuse her husband sex as "it is his right" 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 12, 2012
PA TV host: "A man doesn't fast and doesn't pray, but according to Shari'ah [Islamic] law - if he wants to have sex after the prayer [time] and [his wife] refuses, perhaps for the reason: 'You don't pray, and don't fast.'"
PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein: "That is not a reason."
Host: "Does she have the right [to refuse] according to Shari'ah?"
Mufti: "No. It's his right [to have sex]. Nonetheless, we say to him: You must obey Allah Almighty. Just as you want to satisfy your needs, which are in fact animalistic and impulsive, you must also observe Allah's duties and commandments, which are more important. Nonetheless, it is his right. This woman may not and has no right to deny him this right, especially during the permissible time, which is nighttime."
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PA Mufti: "A woman must leave home [only] at the discretion of her husband" 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 12, 2012
Host: "What is the rule about women who go out shopping [at night during Ramadan] until 3:00 AM?"
PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein: "In general, a woman must [only] leave home at the discretion of her husband. If she left home at his discretion and with his approval, there is nothing preventing it."
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Inequality of women highlighted in satire on PA TV 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 11, 2012
Husband: "Afaf, I don't get it. How long can the house stay like this? What are you thinking? That I'll hire a house cleaner?
Wife: "If only, Hussein, if only! You don't understand how much you could help me."
Husband: "Did you really believe it? [...] Move! Move! You're also late with dinner every day! What's with you?"
Wife: "What do you want me to do? We come home from work at the same time. You site down, rest, relax, watch TV, and I'm doing the housework. When do you want me to finish it?"
Husband: "This isn't my problem. That has nothing to do with me. Isn't that "equality?"
Wife: "Sure I want equality, but not to do work plus more work. I mean - not just the accounts, the children and expenses. No, [equality] with everything! What would happen if you helped me with the housework, hand in hand?"
Husband: "Great! That's all I need, [working] hand in hand. I should wash, sweep, and dust! Listen. Get up. Straighten up the house, wash, cook, and I'm going inside to rest. When you finish cooking, come and wake me."
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PA daily: Feminist organizations call for laws to protect women from domestic violence and honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 10, 2012
     "Representatives of a number of feminist institutes demanded the swift enactment of laws in the area of personal status to protect families from violence, along with steps to deter the killing of women. This was said during the demonstration yesterday in Ramallah... that protested the culture of crimes of murder against women for what is called "honor"... The organizer of the "Civil Organizations for Struggle against Violence against Women" explained that two women murdered in Bethlehem and Hebron had approached the police, but it did not supply them with protection and did not save their lives."
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