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February 25, 2014 6:02 pm

Honor Killings in Palestinian Authority Territory Double in One Year

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas embraced the returning 26 convicts from Israeli jails as "heroes" in Ramallah, on December 30, 2013. Photo: Screenshot / WAFA.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas embracing the returning 26 convicts from Israeli jails as "heroes" in Ramallah, on December 30, 2013. Photo: Screenshot / WAFA. – Director of Coordination in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for the Palestinian Authority (PA) Nabila Rizq said that the number of Palestinian women being murdered by families in “honor killings” doubled in 2013. The official criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas for not doing enough to address the PA law that protects the perpetrators of these crimes.

According to Rizq, in 2013 the number of women murdered in PA-controlled territory through family honor killings rose to 27 from 13 in 2012. A clause in the PA penal code acknowledges extenuating circumstances that would allow such murders, despite ongoing demands submitted to Abbas asking to remove that clause, Palestinian Media Watch reported.

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On Sunday in the official PA daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, member of the PLO Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi called for an end to granting allowances to murder women for extenuating circumstances.

“Women are not a symbol of men’s or families’ honor, but are an equal member [of society], like all other individuals in society. Categorizing these dangerous crimes under misleading titles is an exploitation that provides cover and protection for those who carry out these crimes and encourages them to carry out additional attacks and crimes against women,” she said.

The same PA newspaper article also reported that honor killings are often a cover for killings of women who are seeking to get their rightful inheritances.

“[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],” the article said.

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