Palestinian "honor killing" of women
condemned by Fatah leader
- "If we wish to liberate our [Palestinian] 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"
- "Our [Arab and Islamic] societies consider crimes of violence against women and murder for honor and revenge as legitimate acts"
- "We need a fundamental change... and above all, we need a revolution in education"
Palestinian women suffer from discrimination, violence, and honor killings emanating from "the cultural foundations of the Arab and Islamic societies," according to a Fatah leader. Writing an op-ed in the official PA daily, Muwaffaq Matar, a Fatah Revolutionary Committee member, called for fundamental changes in Palestinian society including legislation and new "enlightened attitudes" regarding women "and above all, we need a revolution in education." He blames the current violence against women on "the cultural foundations of the Arab and Islamic societies" which "consider crimes of violence against women and murder for honor and revenge as legitimate acts... [some] glorifying them as heroic masculine acts."
Palestinian Media Watch reported that university lecturer Yusuf Jabareen, while being interviewed on PA TV, likewise blamed Arab culture for violence against women:
Yusuf Jabareen: "Part of our identity is to kill women, for example, to kill women, to beat women..."
Host: "You generalize."
Jabareen: "No. I don't generalize."
Host: "Not everyone is the same."
Jabareen: "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 we have adopted from Arab culture for centuries that harm the individual and the woman. For example, in recent months, look how many women were killed in Lod, in Ramle, and in Acre, and so on. That's part of our identity."
[Official PA TV, June 24, 2012]
PMW has reported in the past on the repeated criticism of the PA and its leader Mahmoud Abbas for being lenient regarding violence to women and honor killings and not enforcing laws that would protect women and punish the violent men:
Headline: "Article 99 murders women twice"
"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.'" Read more
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Mar. 7, 2017]
The following is a longer excerpt from the 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...
Our [Arab and Islamic] societies consider crimes of violence against women and murder for honor and revenge as legitimate acts... and there are those who have exaggerated by glorifying them as heroic masculine acts, so much so that they have become one of the cultural foundations of the Arab and Islamic societies.
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."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 3, 2017]