Palestinian women demand legal protection after alleged honor killing

UNTV News   •   September 5, 2019   •   1068

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank on Wednesday (September 4) to demand legal protection for women, after a 21-year-old woman died last month in what rights groups say was a so-called honor killing.

A Palestinian Authority investigation is underway into the death of Isra’a Ghrayeb, a make-up artist who activists say was beaten by male relatives after a video posted on Instagram allegedly showed a meeting between her and a man who had proposed to her.

According to Palestinian media reports, Ghrayeb sustained serious spinal injuries after falling from a balcony in her home in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, while trying to escape an assault by her brothers. She died on August 22.

At least 18 Palestinian women have been killed this year by family members angered at perceived damage to their honor, which may involve fraternizing with men or any infringement of conservative values regarding women, according to the General Union of Palestinian Women and Feminist Institutions.

Ghrayeb’s family has denied the accusations. They said in a statement that Ghrayeb had a “mental condition” and died “after she had a heart attack, following an accidental fall into the (family’s) courtyard”.

The circumstances surrounding Ghrayeb’s death have stirred outrage within the Palestinian territories and on social media, with rights activists demanding action against the alleged perpetrators and legal protection for women under the hashtag #JustceforIsraa.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, female demonstrators held signs reading: “We are all Isra’a” and “My body is my property. I don’t need your supervision, your care, your honor.”

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said this week that several people had been detained for questioning over Ghrayeb’s death as part of the inquiry by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the Israel-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian penal code dates to the 1960s and has been criticized for inadequate protection for women and lenient penalties for men who kill them in honor crimes. (REUTERS)

UN-HRC to probe possible war crimes amid Israel-Gaza conflict

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2021

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UN-HRC) has launched an international investigation into alleged crimes committed during the conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

The UN-HRC adopted a resolution that will establish an inquiry commission to “investigate alleged human rights violations & abuses in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, & in Israel, up to & since 13 April 2021.”

Twenty-four countries, out of the 47-member forum, voted in favor of the said probe while 14 abstained.

The document stated that the commission of inquiry shall “establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and abuses and of the crimes perpetrated.”

The commission shall “collect, consolidate, and analyze evidence of such violations and abuses and of the crimes perpetrated, and systematically record and preserve all information, documentation and evidence, including interviews, witness testimony, and forensic material, in accordance with the international law standards, in order to maximize the possibility of its admissibility in legal proceedings,” according to the document.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the said UN-HRC decision, saying it is a “mockery of international law”.

“Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession. This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority said the resolution would pave way for the international community to know the discrimination of Israel against Palestinians. AAC

At least 8 killed in Myanmar during protest against military coup

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 3, 2021

At least eight people were killed during another protest against the military coup in Myanmar, a news agency reported.

Myanmar Now, an independent news service, reported that the junta’s security forces shot and killed at least eight people during some protests on Sunday (May 2).

Communities in Myanmar launched coordinated demonstrations which organizers called “the global Myanmar spring revolution.”

The armed forces of the military have arrested and fired rubber bullets, live ammunition, and grenades at civilians in order to stop the said protests.

One person was killed and at least 20 were injured in the jade-rich town of Hpakant, Kachin State. Three people were killed in the central town of Wetlet.  Meanwhile, two were killed in different towns in Shan State.

It was three months since the military took over the authority from the elected government. Thousands of residents have already been displaced and thousands were killed, according to an estimate of the United Nations. -AAC

Palestinians declare state of emergency over coronavirus

UNTV News   •   March 6, 2020

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a 30-day state of emergency on Thursday (March 5) and Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity was closed following the discovery of seven cases of coronavirus in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The decree was announced by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, who decided to close all schools, colleges and kindergartens and to cancel foreign tourist reservations.

“We have decided to declare a state of emergency in all Palestinian areas to confront the danger of the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading,” Shtayyeh said on Thursday night.

Speaking in Ramallah, Shtayyeh said the Palestinian Authority was also considering closing all border crossings.

The precautions were announced after Health Minister Mai Alkaila said authorities had identified seven positive cases, all of them Palestinian employees at Bethlehem’s Angel Hotel.

Health officials said they suspected the seven, the first reported cases of the illness in the occupied Palestinian territories, contracted it from tourists who had stayed at the hotel recently.

The Latin Patriarchate of the Holy Land said the Church of the Nativity would be closed for two weeks, along with other churches and mosques in the Bethlehem area.

A ban on foreign guests at West Bank hotels will also last two weeks, the tourism ministry said.

Israel’s Defence Minister Naftali Bennett ordered the Israeli military to close off Bethlehem, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, barring movement of Israelis and Palestinians with effect from Thursday evening.

The Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said Shtayyeh’s announcement covered only the West Bank.

The measures were a particular blow to Bethlehem, where businesses depend largely on visitors to the church, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born.

Just three months ago the mayor and hoteliers in Bethlehem were hailing what promised to be the best Christmas for two decades, with visitor numbers in 2019 numbers surpassing the 1.5 million people who came in 2018. (Reuters)

(Production: Martin Veal)

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