Equal Access to Terrorism

The Palestinian Media Watch: the PA decided to celebrate the Women’s international day by honoring female terrorists.

Palestinians hold posters of terrorists Dalal Mughrabi and Ahad Tamimi. (Photo-I. Rimawi, W. Nassar)

The world celebrated International Women’s day on March 8, as it does every year. Israel marked the day at a number of events:  Jerusalem marked the day by launching an online map telling the stories of the city’s “wonder women.” 2,000 Israeli women joined together to sing Australian pop-singer Sia’s “Titanium”, as a means to celebrate “women who stand together and celebrate their power”; at a symposium in Tel Aviv a new report on female advancement in Israel was launched – and so forth.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) under Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah, where Abbas is chairman, decided to mark the day in a slightly different manner. As reported by Palestinian Media Watch, the PA decided to celebrate the day by honoring female terrorists Dalal Mughrabi and plane hijacker Laila Khaled, stressing that “the two self-sacrificing fighters” are among “the most prominent names of the Palestinian resistance”. Murdering Jews appears to be the only ‘field’ in which female PA citizens enjoy a measure of ‘equality’. According to acclaimed NGO Monitor, writing about women living under the PA in March 2018, women’s rights are very precarious in PA society because of, among other things, “the restrictive nature of personal and familial status laws; a very low labor participation rate of 19% (as opposed to 71% for men); a non-uniform legal system comprised of Sharia law and laws inherited from Egypt, Jordan, and Britain; and a corrupt and stagnant Palestinian Authority (PA) where women accounted only for 12.9% of parliamentarians in 2007 (the last time the Palestinian Legislative Council convened)”.

On March 7, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) published new statistics showing that women, indeed, have much to be desired in terms of gender equality in the PA:

“Despite the increase in participation of women in the labor force in previous years… it is very low compared to men, where women participation rate was 21% of the total women at work age in 2018, compared to 10% in 2001, while the men participation rate was 72% in 2018 [sic]…”.

The statistics also showed, “Women’s participation in public life remained limited compared with men, where 82% of judges were men, compared to 18% for women, while 73% of registered lawyers were men, compared to 27% for women and 80% of prosecutors were men, compared to 20% for women”.

Gender equality on the work market, however, is only one small issue among the many that women living in the PA face. One recent broadcast with Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Abbas’s advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, on official PA TV showed the extent to which women are subjected to sharia law (Islamic law). According to Al-Habbash, men are allowed to beat the women in their family, when they are ‘disobedient’: “As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly)” … The meaning is that the noble Quran and Allah permitted this gradualness in dealing with wrong behavior by the woman… The man who is intended here is not only a husband. When Allah said: “Admonish them,” it can be the husband, the father, the brother. It can be the society or the ruling authority… “And beat them” – this too is not necessarily especially for the husband. In principle, do we recognize harmless beating, educational beating, as a means of education? … Prophet [Muhammad] said… “Command them to pray when they are at the age of seven, and beat them for this when they are 10 years old” [Hadith]. The beating here is an educational beating, and not violent beating. … As long as Allah permitted a certain type of beating, it is for the good. It is good for society and good for the woman and the man. However, regarding the question of why Islam permitted a man to hit and not a woman: Look, the woman is more sensitive, and this is a kind of preference for her by the way… [Official PA TV, Horizons, Dec. 1, 2018].

None of these issues were on the agenda, obviously, when official PA TV marked Women’s International Day by broadcasting an interview with the Director of the Palestinian Women’s Union in Gaza, Amal Hamad, who instead chose to highlight the role women in the PA have played in violence and terror against Israel:

“We have had female Martyrs, wounded, and prisoners… The women were the first to take part in the battle. That is why we also have female Martyrs – Shadia Abu Ghazaleh [terrorist, prepared bombs for terror attacks], Dalal Mughrabi [terrorist who led murder of 37 people, 12 of them children], Wafa Idris [first female suicide bomber, murdered 1 person], Ayyat Al-Akhras [youngest female suicide bomber, murdered 2 people], Darin Abu Aisheh [female suicide bomber, wounded 3 people]…”

By institutionalizing oppression of women — except for equal access to committing terrorist acts against Jews -the PA can be compared to a person who has decided that he does not really need half of his body  A society that does not properly use 50 % of its human resources, is doomed to lag behind in development and progress.


Judith Bergman is a columnist and political analyst and a fellow with the Gatestone Institute.

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