Muslim women (illustration)
Muslim women (illustration)Flash 90

Violence against Palestinian Arab women is rampant in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza, official PA media reported last month, because both territories' laws and Palestinian culture give men "right of ownership" over their wives.

The head of the Women's Legal Counseling Center, Zainab Al-Ghneimi, stated to Al Hayat-Al Jadida that, under Palestinian rule, the husband "is the one who commands and prohibits." Her comments were translated by Palestinian Media Watch.

"The culture of the entire society" is that a husband "has bought the woman and paid for her, and therefore she has become his property and must obey his orders," Al-Ghneimi said.

Palestinian Arab women have been cultured into accepting this patriarchy, she noted.

"41% of the women agreed that violence was justified if the woman leaves home without notifying her husband, while 74% agreed that violence was justified if she neglected her children," she said, quoting a March 29 Al-Hayat article.

This is not Islam, she concluded.

"There is not a single religious [Islamic] text that encourages violence against women," she argued.

Violence against women is well-known in Gaza, as Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law since violently taking power there in 2007.

The group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.

The group also introduced a strict dress code for female university students, demanding that they wear “modest clothing."

Honor killings in Gaza rose exponentially in 2014.