Honor crimes still largely justified in the Palestinian Authority and across the Arab world

A NGO called IMAGES surveyed people in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, where they found that gender based violence remains a significant issue.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

A NGO called IMAGES surveyed people in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, where they found that a significant portion of the population still justifies honor crimes. This is especially the case in the Palestinian Authority, where 82% of the male members of the population claim that how a woman dresses directly affects a man’s honor.

The report also noted that 47% of Palestinian men believe that a woman who is a victim of an honor crime usually deserves some kind of punishment from her family. In addition, 35% of Palestinian men believe that relatives who honor killed a female member of the family should not be punished. That is higher percentage than any other group that is part of the survey. However, 82 percent of Palestinian men believe that they have guardianship over their female relatives.

According to the report, domestic violence is also widespread in Palestinian society with 25% of the male respondents claiming that they witnessed their mother being beaten by their father or another male relative. 57 percent of Palestinian men reported that they were beaten by a teacher in school when they were kids and 24 percent of Palestinian men were bullied as kids. Statistically speaking, men who witness such violence in their childhood are more likely to beat their wives as adults. Nearly one in five Palestinian men stated that they behaved violently towards their wife.

34 percent of Palestinian men claim that there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten. 63 percent of Palestinian men stated that a woman should stay in an abusive relationship to keep the family together. However, on the positive side of the equation, 64 percent of Palestinian men support criminalizing domestic violence including marital rape and 62 percent of Palestinian men believe that honor killings should be treated like any other murder.

The survey, called the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (Images), was carried out in the territories by a group at Bir Zeit University and as a result, it downplays the misogynist violence and attitudes within Palestinian society, claiming that they are the result of the "occupation." This bias includes a section of interviews with former long-term Palestinian terrorists, who are a tiny percentage of Palestinian men, about how well they respect their wives for taking care of their families while they were incarcerated.

The Palestinian part of the survey goes to great lengths to blame Israel, with the entire section introduced with: "The reality of Palestinian lives – including gender relations and gender dynamics – has been carved by the prolonged Israeli occupation. The occupation has become the central structural framework of analysis for all elements of political, economic, and social life in Palestine. IMAGES findings in Palestine must be understood within this contextual framework." The Elders of Zion blog stated in response that it is "a survey on gender equality" that is "so subverted by anti-Israel politics" in order to "justify their violence and misogynist attitudes towards women."

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