A young Palestinian woman was brutally murdered in an honor killing and true to form, Congressman Rashida Tlaib does not blame the fists that beat the young woman to death but, rather the Israeli “occupation” that compels Palestinians to murder.
Femicide: Killed for an Instagram Post
Israa Ghrayeb, a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of Bethlehem, died last week amid conflicting reports of how she died. Israa was killed in her hospital bed after receiving treatment for a spinal injury she sustained jumping off the balcony of her family home, reportedly while fleeing male relatives. Her family insists that she died of a heart attack but in a video recorded outside her hospital room her screams and the shouts of her attackers are clearly heard.
Other sources, most notably the Palestinian Human Rights organization Adalah Justice Project, are claiming Israa was tortured and beaten to death by her male relatives in a case of femicide, or, as it is more commonly known an honor killing. Israa’s crime was posting an Instagram video showing her with her fiancé. Among the family members named in the reports as responsible for Israa’s death is her brother, Ihab, who attends college in Canada.
Tlaib Cites Article: Honor Killing Not Muslim or Arab But Caused by Israel
Congressman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) posted a tweet decrying the murder.
“Isra’s death illustrates an ever-present toxic masculinity and control over women’s bodies and lives.”
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 1, 2019
Her tweet linked to the Palestinian feminist website Babyfist. The article was prefaced by a disclaimer about honor killings, more accurately referred to as femicide:
Honor killings are not Muslim and they are not Arab. This is a universal phenomenon which takes places in nearly all corners of the globe, from the United States to Europe. The US president stands accused of rape. Honor killings were legal in Italy until the 1970s and still happen today. Do not use this narrative to reinforce dangerous stereotypes of Arab culture and Islam. Patriarchy exists every where.
Though technically correct, the disclaimer is a lie. According to Haaretz, 11 Palestinian women in the West Bank and nine in the Gaza Strip were suspected victims of femicide last year. Social pressure on families prevents accurate reporting. In North America, a study of 172 honor killing incidents worldwide involving 230 victims, 91 percent of the perpetrators were Muslims. In North America, 84 percent of the killers were Muslim. In Europe, Muslims constituted 96 percent of the killers.
Even worse, the article goes on to claim that since femicide is not linked to culture or religion, femicide is caused by “social and political power structures present in Palestine, in the occupation, and even in diasporic activism.” It seems clear that under the Palestinian Authority which administrates Bethlehem, Israa’s murder will go unpunished. The article names two culprits responsible for Israa’s death and other cases of femicide: “Israeli military occupation and a corrupt Palestinian Authority.”
Palestinian protesters are demanding the law be changed in the Palestinian Authority but that will be difficult. The Palestinian Parliament has not functioned since 2000 and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in the 13th year of a four-year term, has yet to act on a petition with 12,000 signatures submitted to him requesting the law be changed.
UN Blames Israel for Palestinian Violence Against Women
This claim by Babyfist that was picked up by Tlaib is not a recent invention. At the 35th session of the Human Rights Council, Ms. Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, presented her findings from a visit to Israel. Her report to the UNHRC focused on the “gendered impact of the occupation”. She cited a “clear link between prolonged occupation and gender-based violence”, blaming the prevalence of violence against Palestinian women by Palestinian men entirely on Israel.
This premise was challenged by UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer who noted that her report failed to bring any data or facts to substantiate this claim.
“Is it right to continue infantilizing Palestinians, such that when a man in Ramallah beats his wife, we encourage him to say ‘Israel made me do it’?” Neuer stated. “Why did you fail to mention that official Palestinian TV regularly broadcasts Islamic preachers who tell the people how to beat their wives?” he said, citing several examples.
“The hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded is still found between the couple,” Neuer said, quoting a Mufti in Gaza.
The Babyfist article went on to criticize the lack of international attention on the case while also criticizing its overage in the Israeli media.
“Doubtless some Hebrew articles being published by some Zionist news outlets to try and pink-wash occupation,” the article writes. The intention was that the “Zionist news” is using the murder of Israa to discredit the Palestinian cause.
Tlaib: Israel Responsible for Palestinians Murdering Jews
Neur’s claim that the UNHRC report “infantilized Palestinians” should go double for Rashida Tlaib. Not only did she cite an article blaming the murder of a Palestinian woman by he Palestinian brother but she also blamed Israel for a Palestinian terrorist attack which killed a Jewish teen-aged girl two weeks ago, Tlaib blamed Israel.
This is absolutely tragic & horrible. My heart goes out to Rina’s family. More than ever we need to support nonviolent approaches to ending the Israeli occupation and guaranteeing equal rights for all. Extremism that puts innocent lives at risk moves us no closer to peace. https://t.co/lQ4qrYf6ig
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 24, 2019
Tlaib retweeted a post by the anti-Israel group IfNotNow which blamed the attack specifically on “the occupation”, a historically and factually inaccurate term anti-Semitic groups use to refer to Israel.