Letter to the US Ambassador Mr. Trevor D. Traina

Terror against women has increased inside Palestinian families and society under the current Palestinian government in the West Bank and become a threat for the future of Western countries.

To illustrate my opinion as an expert journalist who has worked in the area of the conflict and currently lives in Vienna, Austria, let me draw your attention to the killing of a young beautiful woman, Israa Gharib, 21, from the town of Beit Sahour in Bethlehem, on 22. 08.2019.

Israa was a smart girl. She studied English because she was convinced that the language would help her to communicate with the Intentional world.

I was shocked when I heard an audio recording of Israa screaming of pain as she was tortured at the Palestinian National Authority Hospital in Beit Jala in the West Bank without an intervention of the Palestinian police and the medical staff in the hospital.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57PDBuDC8Sw

So far, available voice recordings and photos on social media indicate that Israa Nasser Gharib was subjected to severe violence from her family, her brother, Mr. Ehab Nasser Gharib, a Canadian citizen, her father and her brother-in-law Mr. Muhammad Ismael Safi.

The family insisted that Israa had serious mental disorders that led to such incident, which they explain as “possession by demons;” an unreliable explanation that needs to be properly addressed by relevant authorities of the PA in order to prevent victim-blaming, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

But Israa was not like that, She recorded all the criminal actions of her family she was subjected to and sent them to her close friends.

According to Israa’s close friends, the crime of Israa’s murder began when a young man proposed to her. She went with her sister to meet him, with her mother’s knowledge and consent, at a restaurant in the city, in order to get to know him better. They recorded a short video that she posted on her Instagram account. Then, one of her relatives who watched the video told her father and siblings, which provoked them to take action against the deceased, who, in the family’s view, brought shame to them by meeting a young man, to whom she was engaged.
Mr. Ehab (her brother) returned from Canada to the West Bank to kill his sister after he saw the short video post in his sisters Instagram account. He accused his sister of bringing shame to his honor (?).

The violence against Israa and before her against hundreds of women, all ended in terror murders, confirms that terrorism threatens the lives of civilians everywhere.
Ehab Gharib, who murdred his sister Israa is a Canadian citizen who moves freely in Western countries. And endanger the lives of others without a doubt.
Israa’s father is also a terrorist, and her brother-in-law is also a terrorist.
Whoever kills a weak woman is a radical terrorist.

The so-called honor killing is real terrorism, which begins in a crime within the family and grows and extends outside it, turns into terrorism that takes the lives of civilians, just as what was happened in New York on September 11, 2001.
Terrorism and the high rate of murders of women in Palestine is the result of the absence of laws that punish the murderers and condones these crimes under the pretext of the so-called “honor”.

In fact, terrorism and murder have nothing to do with honor, and the murdering of women is a clear sign of terrorism that threatens the lives of all.
In the West Bank and Gaza there are no laws that forbid women from being murdered, or which prosecute their murderers. The Palestinian Authority applies the Jordanian Penal Code in the West Banks towns. The Jordanian law is considered as a discriminatory law, it reduces the penalty for the murderer when he perpetrates his crime under the pretext of “issues of honor”.

“Honor” has become a justification for murdering women and protecting the murderers, as well keeping the power in the hands of the men who lead the society, and impeding women from reaching power. This is a clear threat for all women who seek equality with men in their rights.

In March 2018, the PA decided to repeal Article 308 of the Penal Code enforced in the West Bank, which exempts a perpetrator of rape from punishment if he marries the victim, and to amend Article 99, which originally gave perpetrators of so-called “honor crimes” lenient penalties.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promised several times that he would change the shameless laws protecting perpetrators of “honor killings”. But he did not fulfill his promises. Instead, he has backtracked on his promises.

Palestinian legislation is still discriminatory and incompatible with the international conventions for human rights and the legal obligations of the State of Palestine after accession to these conventions. Customs and traditions still play a key role in promoting the phenomenon of violence against women under various justifications and concepts such as “family honor”, or “womanly manners” in which the victims are blamed, while murderers are saved from punishment.

In 2014, the State of Palestine acceded to many international conventions for human rights without reservations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, however, the rights situation of women in Palestine has not improved.

Because we see no other recourse despite accession of Palestine to all these treaties, we will be grateful if your government lists the names of those involved in the murders of women in Palestine and the Arab countries under the list of terrorists who are prohibited from entering Western countries.

The killers of Israa are:

Thank you very much for your kind attention,

Kawther Salam,

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