Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 April 2020

Palestinian women protest after brother of bride-to-be is suspected of assault leading to her death

Friends and activists suspect that Israa Ghrayeb's brother assaulted her over a video of a man who proposed to her

Palestinian women protest in support of women’s rights outside the prime minister’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 2, 2019, after a young Palestinian died in a case that has raised emotions. AFP
Palestinian women protest in support of women’s rights outside the prime minister’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 2, 2019, after a young Palestinian died in a case that has raised emotions. AFP

Palestinian women haven taken to the streets of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah over the suspected "honour killing" of a woman, 21, by her male relatives.

Israa Ghrayeb died last month in hospital two weeks after being beaten at home, activists say.

Her male relatives apparently attacked her after she posted a video to Instagram of a man who had proposed to her.

The family felt the video of them together before the pair married had brought dishonour on the family.

The family reportedly instructed her brother to physically assault her after the post. When she tried to flee his attack, she fell from the second floor of the family home, breaking her spine.

The family claims she jumped from the building after becoming “possessed by demons”.

Her death prompted outrage in the occupied West Bank and on social media. The hashtag #WeAreAllIsraa was tweeted thousands of times.

Police sources said they were investigating and no post-mortem examination results have been released.

On Monday morning, dozens of protesters gathered outside Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh's office in Ramallah, chanting: "We want security and protection."

Similar demonstrations were held Saturday near her hometown.

Mr Shtayyeh responded on Monday by announcing that people had been called in for questioning, without saying if they were members of Ghrayeb's family.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa on Saturday quoted him as saying legal protection for women should be strengthened.

Majeda Al Masri, a former Palestinian minister who took part in the demonstration, said she believed Ghrayeb had been killed.

"This demonstration is not only to hold the perpetrators accountable, but to demand that the government assume its responsibility to enact the family protection law," Ms Al Masri said.

The law, drafted in 2004, is supposed to provide protection to women from domestic violence, but it has been under consideration by the Palestinian government for years.

The Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, a Palestinian charity documenting abuse in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, said there were 23 cases of what it called femicide in 2018, and 18 so far in 2019.

The term is defined as the killing of women because they are female, although it can also include suicide in cases of bullying.

"Honour killing" remains a wide-scale problem in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinian police figures for 2018 showed that such killings accounted for 12 per cent of the total murder cases in the occupied West Bank.

Many remain unreported, with women afraid to express their fears to authorities.

And many of the crimes are committed by someone close to the woman so they are not always made public, rights groups say.

Updated: September 4, 2019 02:07 AM

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