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Daily Israel Report

Rise in PA ‘Honor Killings’ Despite US Aid

“Honor Killings” rise sharply in the Palestinian Authority, along with more US aid “designed to support strong institutions” of the PA.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/21/2012, 2:08 PM

Muslim veil
Muslim veil
Israel news photo: Flash 90

“Honor Killings," essentially legal murder because of loopholes in Palestinian Authority law, have sharply risen in the Palestinian Authority, along with more U.S. aid “designed to support strong institutions” of the PA.

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights has reported 29 women were killed over a four period ending in 2010 but nearly the same number were murdered in the past year and a half.

“Honor killings,” often carried out in a primitive fashion, took the lives of 13 women in 2011 and 12 in the first seven months of 2012.

A reporter at the daily State Dept. briefing asked if the United States funds the Palestinian Authority on condition of “judicial process” while  “there is a loophole in the law that basically allows the killers to go free” and, also asked, “Do you ever link it to such things?”

U.S. State Department spokesman Olivia Nuland replied,  “This money is designed to support strong institutions of the Palestinian Authority, democratic institutions increasing their services to the Palestinian people.”

Pressed if the United States would raise the issue with the Palestinian Authority, she said, “Obviously, it sounds like the kind of issue we would generally raise in the context of our human rights discussion.”

FrontPage Magazine wrote Monday, “A growing collection of Palestinian leaders are acknowledging that the recent rise in ‘honor killings’ and other horrific acts of violence being perpetrated against Palestinian women can only be stemmed by changing the Arab cultural and Islamic propensity of violence toward women.”

The latest victim was murdered by her husband after she left a divorce hearing in Bethlehem. She had said she suffered beating that forced her to be hospitalized. The husband never was charged with a crime.

Another “honor killing” murder involved a 17-year-old girl whose mother suffocated her with a plastic bag over her face and slashed her wrists. her crime was being raped and impregnated by her two brothers.

One of the most publicized cases was last year’s discovery of a savage murder of a 20-year-old woman, whose uncle tied her up and threw her into a well because he did not approve of an intended marriage.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave an order last year that was supposed to change a former Jordanian law that limited any punishment for “honor killings” to three years in jail. His order called for the killings to be treated as any other murder, but in effect, nothing has changed.

FrontPage pointed out, “Tenets of the amended laws in President Abbas’ legal order left in place can still be used to justify honor killings, such as mitigating circumstances that let perpetrators avoid severe punishment if they can prove that they acted in a ‘state of rage,’” a condition that usually is accepted by PA courts.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council blamed Israel for causing the honor killings because the “occupation” allegedly created "harsh economic and social conditions that lead to violence within families."