Palestinian women demand legal protection after alleged honor killing
UNTV News • September 5, 2019 • 804
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)
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)
Palestinian militants fired rockets from Gaza into Israel on Monday (February 24) drawing Israeli airstrikes in the Palestinian enclave, the second day of fighting between the sides.
The latest round of hostilities began around dawn on Sunday when, Israel said, its troops killed an Islamic Jihad member who was trying to plant explosives near Israel’s border fence with the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad then fired rockets at Israel, which responded with dozens of air-strikes in Gaza.
Overnight between Sunday and Monday, Israeli jets carried out strikes on suspected Islamic Jihad positions in Syria.
The strikes outside Damascus targeted what the Israeli military called “a hub of Islamic Jihad’s activity in Syria”, including the research and development of weapons.
Islamic Jihad later said that two of its members were killed in the airstrike.
A Palestinian official said truce talks mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations were underway.
Iraqi security forces opened fire on thousands of demonstrators who defied a curfew in Baghdad on Thursday (October 3) and exchanged fire with gunmen in a southern city, killing two people on the third day of nationwide anti-government protests.
The protests, in which at least 27 have now been killed and over 600 wounded, began over unemployment and poor services but have escalated into calls for a change of government and pose one of the worst security challenges in years.
They appear to be independent of any political party and seemingly took the security forces by surprise.
At least 4,000 protesters gathered in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square and attempted to march onto the central Tahrir Square only to be met with open fire and heavy tear gas.
Police used live ammunition in the Zaafaraniya district of Baghdad, where a protester was shot dead, and there were protests in the northwestern Shula district.
Police said protesters had fired at them in the town of Rifaen near the southern city of Nassiriya where seven people were killed overnight and one more was killed on Thursday.
Fifty people were wounded in Rifae, including five police, they said. (REUTERS)
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