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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
Fatah glorifies female army unit training to launch rockets, presents suicide bombers as role models 
Source: Facebook page of the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission, July 10, 2014
Female fighter: Roger. Roger.
Tv reporter: Another aspect of the Palestinian woman's role in all areas is being created here. She is not merely the man's partner in domestic life, but his companion wherever he is; on the battlefield, she is at his side on the frontline, and fulfills an active role in training generations of resistance [fighters], who will confront the "invincible" army. 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.''
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"
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
Click to view bulletin
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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Fatah official praises Mughrabi, killer of 37, as “role model" for bringing “destruction upon the occupation” in a “quality operation” 
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, Jan. 1, 2014
An episode of the PA TV program Palestine this Morning discussed the role of women in Palestinian society and hosted Fatah Central Committee member Amal Hamad.
1st PA TV host: “During the Palestinian revolution and its history, the woman was this struggle’s important and essential element... She participated in all aspects of the struggle, and in fact proved that she is an element worthy of a prominent place in Palestinian society and that she is part of the important history of this great nation.”
2nd PA TV host: “On this occasion, we will recite a stanza from a poem that reads: ‘On the eleventh of March, a Saturday, an Arab self-sacrificing fighter emerged from the waves, and the dark-skinned Arab [woman] Dalal [Mughrabi] set out and cried: ‘My country, my country, my country!’”
1st PA TV host: “Dr. Amal, throughout Palestinian history, the woman had an important role in the armed struggle... How would you describe the role of the Palestinian woman in recent years?”...
Fatah Central Committee member Amal Hamad: “The Palestinian woman was a partner in the struggle. She carried the rifle, she was on the front lines…Dalal Mughrabi was at the front lines, she led men in the battle of defiance and in the resistance against the occupation... She led a quality operation (i.e., terror attack) in the Palestinian Interior (i.e., Israel). She killed dozens of Israeli army officers, and she was the leader of this operation. She led men. She is a source of pride in her struggle, her history, her giving and her sacrifice. The woman was a [role] model in the national struggle and this role model is now being copied, and [students] learn about it at the world’s universities.”

For a longer transcript of the program and descriptions of the terrorists, click "full article" below.
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:
“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.”
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