In just the past month, at least two women were murdered in Rafah, Gaza alone. A man shot his daughter and a husband stabbed his wife to death in her sleep.
Times of Israel discusses the little-known loophole that allows Palestinian murderers of women to get off easy:
Despite a series of reforms to the Palestinian legal code since 2011 aimed at preventing so-called “honor killings,” the law has continued to allow men who murder, assault and rape women in the Palestinian territories to receive significantly reduced sentences.The UN report notes that Mahmoud Abbas supposedly modified the penal code to eliminate the exemption for "honor killings" - but
Over the past half year, a petition initiated by Palestinian women’s rights groups has received over 12,000 signatures asking Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to do away with the measure, which allows judges to use their discretion in cases that have “extenuating circumstances.”
Yet while the law’s effect on women is well-known and well-documented, neither canceling, freezing nor amending it is in the cards.
According to a legal adviser for the Palestinian Authority’s Women’s Affairs Ministry, the law is necessary to ensure justice in some cases.
...[I]n the majority of other such cases in Jordan and the Palestinian territories, the “extenuating circumstances” the judges cited to lighten the sentences were that
Once the charges are dropped — in Palestinian legal parlance this is called “dropping the personal right [of the victim]” — the judge can use Article 99 to lighten the sentence.
Palestinian women’s rights advocates have argued the law is a two-pronged dagger: it incentivizes murder by minimizing punishment and also incentivizes murderers of women to claim they killed for their family’s honor.
“We have documented cases where someone was killed over inheritance or financial issues but it was documented as an honor killing,” Victoria Shukri, director of the Women’s Courts Project in TAM, a women’s rights organization, told The Times of Israel in a recent telephone interview.
A 2014 United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report found that the dropping of personal rights is most often the “extenuating circumstance” judges cite before granting clemency to abusers or murderers of women.
Moreover, the conflict of interest involved in the "waiving of right" exemption is simply ignored:
It is noted thatas a cause for extenuating punishment. ThisAbbas' supposed declaring "honor killings" to be murder in 2011 has done literally nothing to help Palestinian women.
is what a majority of the judgments of the courts of
first instance (Criminal) are based on, a matter that
is explicitly expressed by the Court of Appeal held
in Ramallah, in its judgment No. 54/2005, when it
concluded “jurisprudence shows that ”. Therefore, one of the heirs can waive
their right and courts can extenuate the penalty for
the offender. This is the result in the vast majority
of the cases reviewed. Waiving the right was in most
cases done by a single person, be it the father of the
victim or her brother or mother.
In other words, as
claimed by the defense in most of these cases.
(h/t/ Josh K)