More Rights Stripped for Gazan Women


Remember how propaganda outlets and even the mainstream media tried to paint Gaza as some kind of progressive society, where women can be taxi drivers and gas station attendants?

We already saw a huge crack in that narrative when the female taxi driver was attacked.

Now the mainstream media has dealt another blow to the illusion they have been trying to maintain.

Gaza dress
Photo courtesy of Yanajin33, CC BY-SA 3.0

A Hamas-run Islamic court in the Gaza Strip has ruled that women require the permission of a male guardian to travel, further restricting movement in and out of the territory that has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt since the militant group seized power.

Note how they can’t resist taking a jab at Israel and Egypt here.

The decision by the Sharia Judicial Council, issued Sunday, says an unmarried woman may not travel without the permission of her “guardian,” which would usually refer to her father or another older male relative. Permission would need to be registered at the court, but the man would not be required to accompany the woman on the trip.

The language of the ruling strongly implied that a married woman would not be able to travel without her husband’s approval.

The edict also said that a man could be prevented from traveling by his father or grandfather if it would cause “grave harm.” But the man would not need to seek prior permission, and the relative would have to file a lawsuit to prevent him from traveling.

Hassan al-Jojo, head of the Supreme Judicial Council, told the Associated Press that the ruling was “balanced” and consistent with Islamic and civil laws. He dismissed what he called “artificial and unjustified noise” on social media about the edict.

He justified the measure by citing past instances in which girls had traveled without the knowledge of their parents and men had left their wives and children without a breadwinner.

The ruling sparked criticism on social media, where many accused Hamas of rolling back women’s rights even as Saudi Arabia has eased its restrictions, including by allowing women to drive. The Palestinian People’s Party, a small left-wing group, called on Hamas to reverse the decision.

Zainab al-Ghunaimi, an activist who runs a Gaza-based group focused on women’s rights, said the ruling contravened the Palestinian Basic Law, which grants equal rights to adults, and meant that authorities were “going backward in protecting human rights.”

Although the Associated Press does feel the need to somehow minimize things:

Hamas has not imposed the kind of harsh interpretation of Islamic law championed by other armed groups, such as the Islamic State group and the Taliban in Afghanistan. But it has taken some limited steps to enforce the territory’s conservative mores, including the imposition of an Islamic dress code on female lawyers and high school students.

According to a poll carried out by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC) in 2017, over 85% of the palestinian Arabs surveyed said that the Palestinian Personal Status Law must be based on the principles of Islamic Sharia. Half of these said it must be exclusively Sharia, while the other half said it should be based both on Sharia and civil law. So perhaps this is not a purely Hamas thing, but rather reflective of the views of the majority.

Be that as it may, I have not seen so-called feminist groups like Code Pink speak out against this.

Oh, that’s right. They are very selective about the subjects of their indignation.

In the meantime, not all is lost for Gazan women. There are still some vocations in which they are actually encouraged to participate.

palestinian female terrorist

Hat tip: Maimon

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A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media