Palestinian Honor Killings Dramatically Increase in 2013
According to the Palestinian NGO Women’s Center for Legal Aid Counseling, a total of 25 Palestinian women have been murdered this year in honor crimes, compared to 13 women killed in 2012.
The latest honor killings took place in September, leaving two Palestinian women dead. A 33-year-old mother from Deir al-Ghusun village in the Tulkarem district was found strangled on September 21, according to a report by Maan News Agency. Her father allegedly admitted to killing his daughter, Thamar Zeidan.
Zeidan had been married before she turned 15, and had gotten divorced four years ago. She had two children, according to Palestinian media reports. Prior to her murder, extended family members signed a public statement hung on the door of the local mosque and on village homes condemning Thamar for “disgraceful and outrageous acts.” According to the Middle East news source Al-Monitor, the statement also accused her father of failing to uphold family honor, stating that the Zeiden family had disowned him, “absolving itself of any tribal or legal obligations regarding him.”
Abdel Rahman Zeidan, a Hamas deputy in the Legislative Council, also signed the public condemnation.
Despite general statements condemning honor killings, Hamas has been accused of incitement in Palestinian media reports.
Al-Monitor noted that the reason why this particular honor killing received widespread Palestinian media attention was because Hamas’ entanglement in the killing would lead to “political infighting between Hamas and Fatah.”
Another honor crime against a 21-year-old woman with special needs elicited much less media attention. On September 14, a mother from the Yatta village near Hebron killed her mentally handicapped daughter to protect the family honor after a man apparently assaulted her.
In Ramallah, women’s rights groups demanded that President Mahmoud Abbas immediately implement an amendment to the Palestinian Penal Code to end the reduced punishment that killers normally receive for committing honor crimes. The current Palestinian law usually gives honor crime perpetrators a maximum of a six-month prison term.