The Unmentioned Murders of the Middle East
Honor killings have a sad history throughout the Muslim world. Many families deliberately and systematically kill wives and daughters if there is any suspicion of the women bringing “dishonor” to the family. The cause of such shame may come from actual or feared adultery, refusal to marry a designated spouse, or even dressing inappropriately. The cultural rationale for the honor killings is that by murdering the offending women, honor is restored to the families.
Gaza and the West Bank are similar to other parts of the Muslim world regarding the reasons for honor killings. However, the recent spike in the number of killings in the territories has been very dramatic and atypical. In 2011, there were five such murders in the territories. The number of homicides jumped to 13 in 2012, and doubled again to 27 in 2013. In just the first two months of 2014, 8 honor killings were reported by Palestinian media sources, a pace that would have put it on course for nearly doubling again.
By comparison, in Afghanistan an estimated 150 women are killed each year in honor killings. Afghanistan has over eight times the population of Gaza and West Bank, and 18 times Gaza alone. Therefore, on a proportionate basis, the Palestinians now kill twice as many women in honor killings as Afghanistan (or over three times as many if one only counts Gaza where most of the murders take place).
Adding insult to these horrific murders increasing popularity, was the lax way such murders were treated in Palestinian courts. According to the Palestinian Law (Article 340), the killers were not subject to any punishment.
“He who discovers his wife or female relative committing adultery and kills,
wounds or injuries one or both of them is exempted from any penalty,
and he who discovers his wife, or one of his female ascendants or descendants
or sisters with another in an unlawful bed and he kills, wounds or injures one
or both of them, benefits from a reduction of penalty.”
The terrible jump in honor killing of women in Gaza and the West Bank did not make it to the pages of The New York Times. The courts absolution granted to the murderers was not a subject that the Times decided to cover. In 2011. In 2012. In 2013. In 2014.
The closest the New York Times came to an article about the Palestinians’ disregard for a woman’s life in the territories was in an article by Jodi Rudoren in October 2012. That article was about a particular women’s rights advocate. While one would imagine some specifics about the lack of women’s rights and a review of honor killings being covered in such an article, there was barely any mention.
- There was no description of honor killings
- No report on the increasing number of killings
- No review of Palestinian Law absolving the murderers
Instead, Roduren chose to describe the difficulty of a specific woman acting as a rights advocate in Gaza (as opposed to the hardship all women face in Gaza). Of course, according to Roduren, the main source of the hardship was Israel:
- ““psychological siege” imposed by a combination of Israeli restrictions on travel and trade”
- “lost a personal battle last month when Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by her and three other women to study in the West Bank.”
- “the resistance of the Israeli occupation as a priority,”
- Israeli court ruled, 2 to 1, against the four women
- “Israeli warplane hit an apartment building”
So what does a reader take-away from the New York Times?
- While the New York Times occasionally covered stories of honor killings in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it never covered those killings in Gaza, despite the greater prevalence in Gaza.
- When the paper had a chance to describe the honor killings in Gaza in an article about a woman’s rights advocates, it opted not to do so.
- The thrust of the sole article on the morbid topic laid most of the blame on Israel, as opposed to the Palestinians themselves
Hooray New York Times. You gave a pass for Mulim misogyny and murder meted out by Palestinians. Absolution of the Arab sins came from Jews just across the Green Line.
It would be much more convenient for the left-wing fringe if Israel bordered Pakistan and Afghanistan as well, so they could blame Jews for the entire reprehensible ritual.
Jump in 2014 Honor Killings and Palestinian Law Article 340: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/03/palestine-honor-crime-women-abuse-law-abbas.html#
Jodi Rudoren NY Times 2012 article on Honor Killings: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/world/middleeast/andalib-adwan-shehada-a-bold-voice-for-gaza-women.html
CNN coverage of honor killings back in 2009: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/07/30/mideast.honor.killings/