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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
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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Abbas appoints committee to amend laws protecting women from domestic violence and honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 10, 2012
     "President Abbas decided yesterday to appoint a legal committee, made up of his legal advisor, Hassan Al-Awri, and the Minster of Justice, Ali Mahana, to examine the law of personal status and others. This in order to improve the laws and amend them, so Palestinian women's rights will be protected and defend them from oppression, violence, and discrimination. The president's decision comes following the increase in attacks and cases of murder of women."
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PA cleric: Women may only perform the I'tikaf worship in the mosque if their husbands give permission 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 10, 2012
Column, religion section of the official PA daily, by PA cleric Abada Sabri:
     "It is best to fulfill the focused individual worship [I'tikaf] during the last 10 days of Ramadan... A wife should do the I'tikaf [in the Mosque] only after getting permission from her husband. And if he denies her [permission to go] she is prohibited from doing it, and then it is preferable for the woman to do the I'tikaf at home."
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PA daily op-ed opposes honor killings and the "mentality of racist murder" 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 10, 2012
PA daily op-ed condemned honor killings:
     "None of us who are alive can be honored as long as the mentality of racist murder, what is called honor killings, continues happening across the dark society... It seems that many of us still think of them [women] as the bent rib of Adam, void of intelligence or religion..."
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Op-ed speaks out against honor killings and forced marriages 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 10, 2012
     "In less than two weeks, there were two reports of women murdered for reasons that seem to be connected to honor. The last case, a woman from the Hebron district, was murdered by her father and brother after her husband expelled her from their shared home. This is the twelfth case since the beginning of 2012 of what has been called "honor crimes."
The father of the girl is now guilty of his daughter's murder, but in the indictment against the murderer, the father, it is not mentioned that this is not the first time that he murdered her. He already murdered the victim, his daughter and flesh and blood, a number of years earlier when he married her off to a man who was 50 years older than her. In other words, he married her to someone the age of her grandfather...
Unfortunately, the murderer didn't act alone and found partners to his crime: his son, the brother of the murder victim, and the corrupt doctor who agreed to write a death certificate. This shows that there is public support for violence against women and that the perpetrators of this crime are ready to prepare excuses and even cover it up forever, so that the criminals do not receive a proper punishment."
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PA daily reports on human rights organization that condemns Palestinian honor killings 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 9, 2012
Headline: "Call to legislate a law to protect families from violence and to establish a fund to aid victims of violence"
     "The General Commissioner of the Independent Association for Human Rights, the 'Bureau of Injustices', Dr. Ahmed Harb, said: 'We, of the Association, condemn and denounce these crimes committed last month (i.e., four incidents of murders of women during July 2012) in the harshest terms, and demand vengeance and justice for the victims, since our society must not reconcile itself to any justification for the murder of women…' Harb added: 'What happened last month shows the failure of the legal system, and of the private and official institutions, and their inability to protect the right to life for women who are victims of violence.'
The Association's legal investigator, Khadija Hussein, presented a work paper in which she discusses a number of topics pertaining to the crimes of murder of women, and stated that from 2005 until today, more than 50 women have been murdered in so-called 'honor' [killings]."
PA PM Fayyad calls for laws protecting women from honor killings 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 9, 2012
Headline: "Fayyad: Murders of women require deterrent punishments and a reassessment of the relevant laws"
     "Prime Minister Salam Fayyad emphasized that recurring incidents of violence in Palestinian society, and especially the phenomenon of murder of women for various reasons, represents a danger to society that harms the social fabric. It obliges everyone to consider it seriously so as to learn lessons, and it calls on everyone to assume full responsibility to combat and uproot it. …Fayyad said that relevant laws, and the laws that aim to ensure full equal rights between women and men, should be reassessed, and that the law should provide social and economic protection for women… Fayyad emphasized that it is important to proceed towards the immediate implementation of the constitutional amendment to disallow “extenuating circumstances” as an argument for lenient sentences in cases where women are victims of so-called ‘honor killings’. He also said that the penal code should be completed speedily, because this new law awards equal rights to women."
PA daily op-ed condemns "tribal mentality" that seeks to justify the killing of women 
Source: Al-Ayyam, Aug. 7, 2012
Headline: "All excuses are rejected out of hand"
     "The frequency with which crimes against women are committed is rising constantly, and every day more than one crime is committed against more than one woman...
The latest two incidents, in which a girl in Tulkarem and a woman in Bethlehem were murdered, led to the writing of this column, in which I shall criticize out loud the social culture that still seeks justifications for the murder of women. The rumors and justifications for murder after the killing of these two [victims] led a woman journalist to write an article demanding that we respect the reason for killing the girl [in Tulkarem]...
As for the woman from Bethlehem who was murdered in front of people in the street without anyone trying to save her, people have already become experts at spreading rumors to convince us that her husband was right, and that there undoubtedly must be a reason that made the killing necessary...
There is no justification for murder... and there is no country or country-in-the-making that still bases itself on the tribal mentality. The law and the right to life must be respected, and the criminals must be punished. All excuses are rejected out of hand; we refuse to agree to murder... We reject measures that protect the murderers, and the justifications that claim that this keeps the unity and cohesiveness of society, since our cohesiveness and unity will be strengthened only through justice."
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PA daily op-ed: A "cultural revolution" is needed to put a stop to honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 6, 2012
Headline: "Violence against women - a legitimate crime!"
     "Our [Arab and Muslim] societies consider the crime of violence against women, honor killings, and avenging the killing [of relatives], as legitimate, understandable and [part of] a unique heritage. There are some who even praise and glorify this as a manly, heroic act, turning it into an aspect of [our] culture that molds the character of Arab and Islamic societies.
If we wish to free our society from this crime's octopus grasp, we must first admit that without a cultural revolution that will cleanse our perceptions, our books, and our heritage from sanctifying murder performed in the name of Allah and honor... we will not be able to take a single step towards lessening this crime, even if the books of [new] laws reach the roof of Parliament and the civil courts (i.e., no matter how many civil laws are passed against it.)"
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PA official condemns honor killing; others call for harsher laws to punish murderers 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 3, 2012
     "Bethlehem district governor, Abd Al-Fatah Hamail, denounced the crime [murder of Nancy Zaboun by her husband because she wanted to work] and said that this act contradicts the customs of the Palestinian people. He stressed that the accused man would be brought to justice, and he spoke about the amendments which President Mahmoud Abbas has introduced into the lenient sections of [law regarding] murder [of women]; these assure that every man found guilty will receive his punishment, with no other consideration...
Expert and activist Khawla Al-Azraq criticized the use of the present law of personal status, saying: 'It is a disgrace that we are still using the law of personal status that was legislated in the 1950's. This Jordanian law has already been amended a number of times in Jordan, but we are still using it. The law reinforces violence against women, legalizes the murder of women, and protects the murderers, in spite of the amendments that the President [Abbas] has introduced'...
Attorney Salwa Banura said that the law encourages murders, since arguments for leniency [mitigating circumstances] are accepted by the courts, and a man who murders his daughter, wife or sister stays in prison only three months, and is then released."
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PA daily: Increasing calls for legislation to protect women from abuse and honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 3, 2012
     "Justice Farid Al-Jalad, President of the Supreme Court, met yesterday at his office in Ramallah with a delegation from the Ministry for Women's Affairs and from the Women's Union, headed by Minister of Women's Affairs Rabiha Dhiab... to discuss the causes for the recurrence of crimes against women, following the three latest crimes that took place in different cities in the West Bank and Gaza. The delegation stressed its faith in the Palestinian legal system and demanded an end to the leniency employed in cases of honor crimes...
At the same time, a sit-down strike organized by Dhiab was held opposite the courts compound in Ramallah... in which participants demanded legislation that would protect women from violence directed at them and impose extremely heavy penalties on murderers of women."
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Muslim wives should "obey" their husbands, says PA Mufti in response to Ramadan question 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Aug. 2, 2012
PA TV show with PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein:
Host reads out question: "What should a man do with his wife if she doesn't prepare the pre-dawn meal for him?"
Mufti Muhammad Hussein: "In general, the woman should obey her husband and please him."
Host: "The pre-dawn meal is Islamic tradition."
Mufti: "They perform it together... The woman must help her husband and family by preparing the pre-dawn meal, so the whole family is involved. She will be rewarded for observing the tradition and also be rewarded for obeying her husband."
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PA daily: Man who stabbed his daughter to death arrested by PA police 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 24, 2012
     "Commander of the Tulkarem police, Ma'aruf Al-Barbari, said... that on the second day of Ramadan, a father fatally stabbed his daughter several times, even though her family had celebrated her success in the matriculation examinations a day prior to her death, and she had achieved an average of 88.
He stressed that investigations were still going on to uncover the motives and causes for this chilling crime, and noted that the girl's father had been arrested. He called upon residents to act responsibly and not to rush to pass judgment on their children, and destroy the family. He stressed that following the so-called family honor killings of many girls, it turned out after pathological examination and autopsy -- that the victims were virgins."
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University lecturer on PA TV says that killing and beating women is a negative part of Arab identity 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, June 24, 2012
PA TV program about Palestinian identity among Israeli Arabs. Guest: Israeli Arab lecturer Yusuf Jabareen from the Technion, who opposes violence against women:
     Yusuf Jabareen: "Part of our identity is to kill women, to beat women… Part of our identity is to attack women – we must acknowledge it. Every society has its defects and its charms. Palestinian identity has its charms, but there are things that we have adopted from Arab culture for centuries, which harm the individual and the woman. For example, in recent months, look how many women were murdered in Lod, in Ramle, and in Acre, and so on. That's part of our identity."
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PA daily article: Should women be allowed to drive taxis? 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 30, 2012
Headline: "Women driving taxis – agreement and opposition"
     "Director General of the Licensing Authority, Yasser Al-Khatib, emphasized that the culture, customs and tradition of Palestinian society do not accept the idea of a woman working as a taxi driver, and that a woman is unable to work in this difficult field, since it involves work at night and late hours, passing from one district to another at irregular times, and extensive contact with all sectors of society.
Al-Khatib told Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that women's employment in public transportation is not legally forbidden, and that they have the right to engage in it whenever they wish to... He added, 'If a woman drives a taxi, she will encounter flirtation, and she may be forced to deal with criminals (thieves, alcoholics, and drug addicts).' This is in addition to her inability to deal with problems with the car, especially at night, and the fact that she is not well acquainted with inner-city roads and highways, and cannot leave household chores for 12 hours.…
Sheikh Jaber rejected the idea of a woman working as a taxi driver because sometimes things happen to men which are forbidden according to religious law, so how could a woman look after herself if she encounters the problems that happen to men? He noted that she might become tempted without knowing it...
Educational counselor Khoula Sarhan stated that women are capable [of being taxi drivers] and have better concentration than men do, as proven scientifically, but the common stereotype in our society and culture, and the adherence to norms, customs and tradition, limit the woman's role and obligate her with regard to certain roles. She noted that the idea of female taxi drivers is not wrong, but women need training before working in this field."
[The article goes on to quote opinions of six men, for and against. Some are more liberal, some less so.]
Abbas proposes amending law that permits murdering women in [family] honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 15, 2011
     “Women’s organizations, human rights organizations, workers’ unions, the political factions and the various social organizations in the Hebron district have hailed the President’s [Abbas’] decision to instruct the legal advisor to the Presidential Office to amend sections 340 and 98 of the Jordanian Penal Act 16 of 1960, which allows those who have carried out crimes of murdering women in so-called honor killings, to escape justice… The participants in the meeting once again demanded that the judiciary and executive branches [of the government] speed up investigation of the circumstances of the murder of the young woman Ayah Barad'iyya (21) from Zurif.”
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Maximum prison sentence for honor killing is 24 months 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 13, 2011
Headline: “The phenomenon of murdering women – disregard for the law and reinforcement of traditions with no basis in religious law”
     “Director of the Unit for Women’s Affairs at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Muna Al-Shawa, said that the Center is concerned about the recurring crime of murder of women in the Palestinian territories for so-called ‘family honor.’ This is a result of the immunity given to the criminal because of light sentences, such that the maximum sentence does not exceed three years [in jail] shortened [for good behavior], meaning, nearly 24 months…
Al-Shawa emphasized that according to the statistics of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 13 cases of honor-killings took place last year. The victims included 9 women, a boy, and 3 men. Three of these crimes were carried out in the West Bank and the rest in Gaza. She stated that since the beginning of this year, only two instances have been recorded….
It is well-known that instances of murder of women are not a new phenomenon, but have been going on for many years. Several studies have been carried out on this issue, including special research carried out by the Project for the Support and Training of Women, as part of the Mental Health program in Gaza, in 2005… This research noted that all instances of murder for so-called family honor involve women [as victims], and do not involve men. Similarly, it turns out that instances of murder were carried out for various criminal reasons, but were attributed to family honor, so that the criminal would escape sentencing and would benefit from the extenuating circumstances awarded to him by law.”
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PA TV highlights problem of devaluing women in Palestinian society 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Oct. 27, 2010

PA TV broadcast a public service ad that negatively portrays a man who is not concerned with the pain his wife is suffering in labor, or with the birth of his new daughter:
     Wife (in pain)
: "Ahmad, Ahmad! Come, take me to the hospital, I'm about to have the baby. Ahmad!"
Husband watching TV: "Yes."
Wife: "Ahmad, I can't, I feel like I'm really about to give birth."
Husband (walks in to wife): "Hold on until the morning. How can I take you now, in the middle of the night?" [...]
At the end of the ad, the following text appears:
     "The Prophet said: Whoever has three daughters and he remains patient with them, provides for them and clothes them they shall be a shield for him from the Hellfire." [Hadith 3669]
Click full article button below to see the full transcript of the ad 
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PA MP: 62% of women are victims of violence; PA police: Men are also victims 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 4, 2010
     "Sahar Al-Kawasmeh, member of the Palestinian Parliament noted that the percentage of Palestinian women who are victims of violence has reached 62%. Among these, 23% are subjected to physical violence, which is a worrying figure.
Ahmad Atawneh, Director of Public Relations for the Hebron police, said that there are exaggerations in the presentation of the severity of violence against women, and that the statistics that the police have compiled show that there exists counter-violence carried out by women against men."
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