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Palestinian honor killings rise sharply to 25 so far in 2013

By Mason White 4:44 PM October 1, 2013
Protest against honor killings 

By: Anav Silverman
Palestinian honor killing rose sharply so far this year to a total of 25, according to a report by the Tazpit News Agency.

According to the Palestinian NGO, Women’s Center for Legal Aid Counseling, a total of 25 Palestinian women have been murdered in 2013 in honor crimes, compared to 13 women killed in 2012.

The latest honor killings took place in September, leaving two Palestinian women dead. A 33-year-old mother from Deir al-Ghusun village in the Tulkarem district was found strangled on September 21, according to a report in Maan News Agency. Her father allegedly admitted to killing his daughter, Thamar Zeidan.

Zeidan had been married before she turned 15 and had gotten divorced four years ago, with two children according to Palestinian media reports. Prior to her murder, extended family members had signed a public statement hung on the door of the mosque and on village homes condemning Thamar of “disgraceful and outrageous acts.” According to the Middle East news source, Al-Monitor, the statement also accused her father of failing to uphold family honor, stating that the Zeiden family had disowned him, “absolving itself of any tribal or legal obligations regarding him.”

A Hamas deputy in the Legislative Council, Abdel Rahman Zeidan, had also signed the public condemnation, noting in a Ma’an News Agency report that the other option had been to expel the father and his family from Judea and Samaria.

Despite a general statement by Abdel Rahman condemning honor killings, the Hamas parliamentarian has consequently been accused of incitement in Palestinian media reports.

Al-Monitor noted that the reason why this particular honor killing received widespread Palestinian media attention was the fact that the Hamas parliamentarian’s entanglement in the killing would “serve as political infighting between Hamas and Fatah.” Another honor crime against a 21-year-old woman with special needs on September 14 elicited much less media. A mother from the Yatta village near Hebron killed her mentally handicapped daughter to protect family honor after a man apparently assaulted her.

In Ramallah, women rights groups demanded that President Mahmoud Abbas immediately implement an amendment to the Palestinian Penal Code to end the reduced punishment that killers normally receive for committing honor crimes. The current Palestinian law usually gives honor crime perpetrators a maximum of a six-month prison term.