gaza woman 298.
(photo credit: AP)
A new report paints an alarming picture of the abuse of women in the Palestinian territories, with police, courts and government agencies failing to treat violence such as rape and beatings as a crime.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch cited practices such as rape victims being forced to marry assailants and light sentences for men who kill female relatives suspected of adultery. It said families, tribal leaders and authorities, backed by tradition and discriminatory laws, often sacrifice victims' interests for "family honor."
The problem is only getting worse with growing poverty and lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza, the report said.
According to a survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics of more than 4,000 households in December 2005 and January 2006, 23 percent of the women said they had experienced domestic violence, but just over 1 percent filed a complaint. Two-thirds said they were subjected to psychological abuse at home.
Human Rights Watch called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, parliament and government ministries to make the protection of women a top priority. More can be done, the report said, despite the ongoing conflict with Israel and the cash crisis in the Palestinian Authority brought on by the rise to power of the Islamic militant Hamas.