Uproar in Gaza after Palestinian man kills wife
A Palestinian man in the Gaza Strip has allegedly killed his wife, the Hamas-run local authorities said on Saturday, in the latest case of domestic violence to spark an uproar in the besieged enclave.
On Friday, the body of Noha Khzaiq, 31, was received by the Al-Shifaa hospital, with signs of blows and bruises," the Hamas-run health ministry said in a press statement.
A forensic report found that Khzaiq died from bleeding caused by chest bone fractures, the ministry said. The fractures were caused by assault, it added.
Meanwhile, Ayman al-Batniji, a spokesman of the police in Gaza, told The New Arab that "police arrested Mohammed Yasin, the woman's husband, as they were investigating the incident with him," adding that "he admitted that he had assaulted her".
He added that "the case and the suspect were referred to the Public Prosecution to complete the legal procedures".
The murder sparked a wave of anger among Gazans, who called on the local authorities to impose a deterring punishment on husbands who practice domestic violence against their wives and children.
Islam Qudaih, a Gaza-based woman in her 30s, told The New Arab "I cannot believe a man would dare hit his wife cruelly, abuse her and kill her... How did he get the courage and the strength to commit a crime like this?"
The mother-of-three added: "Unfortunately, the customs and traditions of our community enable the man to abuse his wife and deprive her of her rights to live in dignity."
"Even if she asks for a divorce from her abusive husband, the law will not let her keep her children," she said.
Women are being killed at an alarming rate in the Gaza Strip, where a traditional s still prioritises political issues over justice and the protection of women’s lives.
An average of 22 women were lost to domestic violence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip every year from 2012 to 2019, according to the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies.
The number shot up to 38 in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced people to stay home, according to the Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counselling.
Palestinian women live with outdated laws dating back to the Ottoman, British, Jordanian and Egyptian eras that many argue are no longer relevant in 2021.
Palestine has joined several international agreements on women's rights in the past decade, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 2014.