'Queer Palestinians' attacked as police stand by and watch in 'homophobic hate crime'

'Queer Palestinians' attacked as police stand by and watch in 'homophobic hate crime'
Sammy and her two friends were beaten near Ramallah as police watched in an anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime.
3 min read
04 December, 2019
The attack has been widely condemned [Twitter]
A video showing a group of Palestinian men attacking a transgender woman and her two friends in a bigoted attack near Ramallah has sparked outrage across social media.

"Yesterday, a video of LGBTQ+ Palestinians being beaten in Kafr Aqab began to circulate across social media," LGBTQ+ rights group Al-Qaws said in a statement.

The video showed the group, who entered Ramallah for rhinoplasty getting punched, kicked, robbed and slammed across a car, while bystanders stood by and watched the assault.

Prior to the attack, the group were filmed in a clothing shop, mocking the transgender woman, Sammy.

After they left the store, they charged a Sammy's friend who was waiting for them outside and began the vicious attack as Palestinian Authority police stood idly.

"Sammy had an operation on her nose a week before the attack, she went for a checkup to make sure everything was fine," Sammy's friend, Miriam, said according to Ynet.

"After her meeting with the doctor, she went clothes shopping with a friend, while another friend waited in the car."

"They stole robbed 52,000 shekels [approx $15,000] from Sammy, took her and her friends' phones, and then told them to run away," she said.

According to local reports, the attack happened after a family spat between one of the members of the friendship group and their family.

The attack allegedly started when Sammy's family was publicly disowned by her family in a video due to her sexual identity, reports say. She allegedly responded with her own video.

Comment: Supporting LGBTQ+ Palestinians shouldn't mean pinkwashing the occupation

Palestinian musician and LGBTQ+ activist Bashar Murad said homophobia and transphobia inside Palestine affects all Palestinians, not just the queer community.

"The saddest thing is that this helps Israel in its project of pink-washing its occupation," he said.

"They will show that Palestinians don't feel safe in their own cities because they're gay and claim Israel is a haven for the gay community. Truth is, whether they're gay or not, as long as they’re Palestinian they’re being oppressed," he added.

In their statement, Al-Qaws said attack will not intimidate them.

"Similar incidents only motivate us to continue to work harder and with greater determination - with all the pain and fear that surrounds them, for a society that is more pluralistic and diverse, and the safety and security of mutants and lesbians and everyone who has different sexual and gender orientations," they urged.

Institutional homophobia

The Palestinain Authority's recent banning of LGBTQ+ activism has prompted a surge in rights activism.

In August, the PA banned a Palestinian Al-Qaws from organising events in the West Bank, saying that such events are contrary to the "values of Palestinian society".

The ban came after they held an event on 4 August, which discussed gender pluralism in the the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

At the time, PA police spokesman Louay Arzeikat claimed on Saturday that events held by Al-Qaws "go against and infringe upon the higher principles and values of Palestinian society", accusing the group of attempting to "sow discord and undermine Palestinian society’s peaceful state of affairs".

He also urged Palestinians to report on any activity by the group and threatened members of the organisation with arrest if they were to up with any other events planned in PA areas.

Al-Qaws said they had faced a high number of threats online after the ban was unveiled by the PA police.

While the Palestinian Authority does not explicity ban homosexuality, members of the LGBTQ+ community general keep their sexual or gender identities secret due to societal and religious taboos surrounding the community.

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