Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “scrapped the laws” which guaranteed “leniency” for honor killers. Family honor will no longer be a mitigating factor in such cases. On the West Bank and in Gaza, such barbaric murders of girls and women routinely draw sentences of six months or less.
Abbas was apparently driven to this unusual act by public outrage about an alleged honor killing which took place near Hebron on the West Bank.
Over a year ago, on April 20, 2010, 20-year-old Aya Baradiya disappeared. Her paternal uncle, 37-year-old Iqab Baradiya, and two accomplices had kidnapped her, bound her hand and foot, and threw her down a well, leaving her to die a slow and painful death. Her remains were not found for more than a year.
Aya was a religious woman who wore a hijab. Her university classmates described her as “chaste and noble-minded.”
What crime did she commit? Aya wanted to marry a man. Her suitor went through the traditional channels. Her parents approved of the match but wanted her to wait until she graduated. Her uncle, 17 years older than she was, strongly disapproved of the engagement. And so he killed her.
Although the media are now reporting her murder as an honor killing, it is not a classic honor killing.
For example, her uncle did not immediately confess. Although many honor killings are disguised as “suicides” or accidents and never made public, in general, those that do come to public light often involve proud confessions. Honor killers confess as a way of publicizing that they have “cleansed their shame.”
In Aya’s case, there was no “shame” that had to be cleansed.
In addition, Aya’s parents and siblings did not collaborate in the decision to murder their daughter, knew nothing about it, were haunted by her disappearance, and played absolutely no role in her murder. In fact, when Aya did not return home from university, her parents immediately reported her missing.
One suspects that her uncle may have had a highly inappropriate interest in his niece. His behavior suggests that he had an unnatural proprietary interest in her sexual and reproductive future and acted as if his niece was more like his daughter over whom he had the power of life and death.
How ironic that President Abbas, who has thus far been unmoved by the epidemic of honor killings among Arabs on the West Bank, in Gaza, and in Israel proper (where Israeli police make arrests), has now ostensibly decided to do the right thing vis-a-vis honor killings—when no honor killing has occurred. But is he really doing the right thing?
Aya’s murdering uncle has demonstrated the cruelty of Arab men towards Arab women; this includes the innocent women in their own immediate and extended families as well as women in general. Their misogyny is barbaric. Aya Baradiya was murdered—but it was not an honor murder. Please read my studies on honor killings in order to understand what one actually is. The following are some examples of genuine honor murders among Arabs on the West Bank, in Gaza, and in Israel, which apparently left President Abbas unmoved.
In 2003, Rofayda Qaoud of Abu Qash in the West Bank was murdered by her mother Amira Qaoud, who put a plastic bag over her head and sliced her wrists with a razor. Her crime? Rofayda had been raped by her two brothers and impregnated. According to her mother, the family’s honor demanded that she sacrifice her daughter for the violent crimes of her criminally psychopathic sons.
In 2007, Hamda Abu-Ghanem, 18, was shot to death in Ramle, Israel, by her brother and her cousin because some men in her town had referred to her as a “prostitute.” She was the eighth woman to have been murdered in her extended family in seven years and, in an unprecedented move, the family’s women finally went public.
In 2007, 21-year-old Nadia Abu Amar of Jerusalem was murdered by her three brothers and her uncle because she refused to marry the man she was engaged to and because she got her father arrested and convicted for assault.
In 2009, Fadia Najjar of Gaza City, a divorced mother of five, was bludgeoned to death by her father because she owned a cell phone. He suspected that she was using it to call a man outside of the family. The day after the murder, he turned himself into police.
Pages: 1 2