Skip to main content

When a Palestinian man hits his wife, is Israel responsible? PMW responds to UN report

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
When a Palestinian man hits his wife, 
is Israel responsible?

PMW's response to "Report on Violence Against Women"
U.N. Human Rights Council, June 12, 2017

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

During a recent UN Human Rights Council meeting, Israel was blamed for causing Palestinian men's violence against Palestinian women. It was claimed that there is a "clear linkage between the prolonged occupation and violence against women." However, Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Palestinian Authority TV teaches Palestinian men how to beat their wives according to Islam. At the UN session, UN Watch director Hillel Neuer responded to the claims by citing a PMW video, which exposes a Palestinian religious official describing on PA TV the conditions under which a man may hit his wife. (See below)
However the example that was cited at the UN is not a solitary example of justification of Palestinian male violence against women on official PA TV. The following is a PMW compilation of a repeating message on official PA TV, even by a female TV host, that a Palestinian man has a right to hit his wife under Islamic law, and describing the way he should do so.
The following are the instructions broadcast on PA TV:
How to hit your wife properly
The following are broadcasts from official Palestinian Authority TV explaining the conditions that a Palestinian man should follow when hitting his wife, according to Islamic law:

PA TV reporter, official PA TV, April 1, 2017:
"To those who use beatings and violence to solve their marital problems: Carefully read the Quranic verse again [Sura 4:34]. There are solutions before giving beatings. If you have to, there are religious rules for beatings that must be obeyed. Guys, the goal of the beatings is rebuke in a way that does not cause injury."
Academic lecturer on Islam and Mufti Sheikh Samih Hajjaj, official PA TV, Nov. 24, 2016:
"Let's say that a husband senses that his wife is lying. First he needs to rebuke her and quote the Quran and Hadith on the ban on lying... The [Muslim] scholars said that the beating can be with a small brush or a handkerchief, and the number of blows should not exceed 10."
TV host: "Not with a stick or a pipe."
Mufti Hajjaj: "No, no. Not in the face. Even when we hit with a handkerchief or small brush, Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'Do not hit the face, and do not make her ugly.' If you want to hit, hit [her] back or leg, hit in places that are not seen, and do not cause a permanent mark."

Mufti of Gaza Hassan Al-Laham, official PA TV, Feb. 8, 2016:
"Allah said: Warn them [the wives], and separate from them, and hit them... She may be from a more socially respectable family than yours, however she became your wife, and she is under your command, and is under your care, so that you should treat her according to Allah's command... [Quran:] 'Warn them [the wives] and separate from them.' The separation means separation in the bedroom... She will ask why, and he will explain: 'You made a mistake and I am angry about it.' Perhaps this will lead to reconciliation... After the warning and separation, comes the hitting - hitting that does not make her ugly... Not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly... The hitting is not meant to disfigure, harm, or degrade. The hitting will be like a joke. He will hit her jokingly. Not a blow that breaks a bone or makes the face ugly, and he will not curse and the like. This hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded, is still found between us (i.e., the couple)."
Yusuf Jabareen, senior lecturer at the Technion in Haifa, official PA TV, June 24, 2012:
"Part of our identity is to kill women, for example, to kill women, to beat women..."
PA TV host: "You generalize."
Jabareen: "No. I don't generalize." 
PA TV host:  "Not everyone is the same."
Jabareen: "Part of our identity is to attack women - we must acknowledge it... Palestinian identity has its charms, but there are things that we have adopted from Arab culture for centuries that harm the individual and the woman. For example, in recent months, look how many [Arab] women were killed in Lod, in Ramle, and in Acre, and so on. That's part of our identity."
Palestinian cleric, Dr. Ismail Nawada, official PA TV, March 14, 2007:
"The other issue that disgraces us is the topic of [wife] beating. First of all, the beating is not a severe beating, and as the experts in Islamic law said: 'Hit her with a handkerchief.' Some asked: 'What use is that?' It's a case of psychological treatment and not a physical issue to hit her. When the wife understands that her husband only raised his hand to her, she will be affected, if she is very sensitive. This is why no one should assume he is allowed to hit his wife with a stick, to make her bleed, or to hit her in the face. This is only a sign: 'Oh wife, you need hitting. Don't necessitate [this] again.'"

The following is a video produced by UN Watch in which UN Watch director Hillel Neuer cited PMW's translation


RelatedView all ❯