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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 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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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.”
Fatah glorifies female army unit training to launch rockets, presents suicide bombers as role models 
Source: Facebook, Fatah - The Main Page, July 10, 2014
TV reporter: "With willpower stronger than mountains, these young women part from their children, leave their homes and go to the battlefield carrying burial shrouds to fight in the ranks of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip. They thereby strive to become an important part of the path of Jihad and the struggle - the path walked by Dalal Mughrabi, Hanadi Jaradat and Reem Riyashi... Um Salim, member of [Fatah's] Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades:"
Female fighter: "We are young women, but we can do the impossible... We support our boys, our husbands and our leaders to liberate Palestine, in the way of leader Yasser Arafat. We are the sisters of Dalal Mughrabi. We will continue to walk the path..."
TV reporter: "The woman in Palestine is no longer a prisoner of her home or work, but constitutes the foundation of the [young] generations' education and the occupation's defeat."
[Facebook, "Fatah - The Main Page," July 10, 2014
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades YouTube channel, July 10, 2014]
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For context and descriptions of the terrorists mentioned above, click "full article.''
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 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.”‎
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.”
 
For more, click "full article"
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."

For more, cllick "full article."
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
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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
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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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PLO member: Laws do not adequately protect women from honor killings 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 23, 2014
     "PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi asserted that we must hurry and urgently approve the penal code, dismiss all extenuating circumstances for murder of women, approve a series of legislation concerning the security of society, and specifically the security of women, as well as give maximum sentences to the perpetrators and to anyone who violates provisions of the law.
These words were said as she strongly condemned the murder of a 15-year-old from Jabalia by her father and the murder of another young woman, a 17-year-old from Khan Yunis, by her brother, [both of which happened] in one day.
Ashrawi noted that the number of women who were murdered since the beginning of 2013 and up to December of that year reached 28 victims because of a lack of regulations and laws to guarantee social protection for women, the lack of legal accountability, laxity in pursuing perpetrators, as well as a lack of desire to punish them.
She added: 'It's time to implement the necessary amendments to the law, approve a penal code that dissuades [people from committing the crimes and that will] view these crimes as crimes against humanity, to activate methods for implementing the law and to urge the legal system to assume its responsibility.'
Ashrawi denounced the fact that these crimes are called murder for 'family matters,' or what are called 'honor' killings, and described this as an 'excuse.' In addition, she said: 'Women are not a symbol of men's or families' honor, but are an equal member [of society], like all other individuals in society...'
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PA official complains that Abbas hasn’t amended leniency clause for "family honor" killings in PA law 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 3, 2014
     "Director of Coordination in the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Nabila Rizq revealed that the number of women who were murdered in 2013 in Palestine due to 'family honor' rose to 27, compared to 13 women murdered in 2012... Rizq said the loophole in the penal code -- specifically the extenuating circumstances and circumstances which permit [murder] -- gives the criminal an excuse to commit his crime, and she asserted that three years ago a demand was submitted to President Mahmoud Abbas to remove this clause because it exempts the criminal from punishment. Rizq deplored the escalation of violence against women, which currently poses a dangerous threat to our society."
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PA daily: Palestinian women increasingly demand equal rights 
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 3, 2014
     "[There] are signs of increasing awareness among women about demanding their right of inheritance. This [is happening] even if this demand may encounter many obstacles [caused] by [their] brothers and family, [obstacles] which may even sometimes result in murder, and recording it [the murder] as if it was committed as a family honor [killing] or by an anonymous person... Nasreen Qawas, coordinator of the 'Right of Inheritance' project, told Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: '... Some of the women grapple with many difficulties with their brothers or families, [difficulties] which have at times resulted in murder due to greed.'"
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