Inside Israel

MSM Reports on Domestic Abuse in Gaza – Without Blaming Israel



Reuters have done the almost-unthinkable: report on something that does not paint Gazans in the best light.

What’s more, they have not even tried to somehow pin it on Israel.

A phone app that allows women in the Palestinian Gaza Strip to report domestic abuse anonymously is allowing growing numbers of victims to seek help while avoiding the shame and reprisals that put many off going to the authorities directly.

The “Masahatuna” or “Our Spaces” app was developed by local computer engineer Alaa Huthut, who saw the need for a way to seek advice safely in a society where family pressures keep much domestic violence hidden out of sight.

“Privacy was very important as fear is usually the main cause women don’t contact or visit centres,” she told Reuters.

The app allows women to register with the service without giving their names or leaving a trace of their contacts with care centres on their own phones.

“If anyone looks at the phone they wouldn’t know she made contact,” Huthut said.

Gaza, run by the Islamist Hamas group, is home to some 2.3 million people, nearly half of them women, according to Palestinian records.

In 2019, the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics said 41% of women in Gaza had faced domestic violence and women’s groups say that, as in many other countries, the problem worsened during coronavirus lockdowns.

Last month, a Gaza court handed down the death penalty to a man who beat his wife to death. But women’s groups say more needs to be done to stop domestic violence in Gaza, where they say some women who report abuse at times get directed to clan leaders to resolve it.

In some cases where women have died due to abuse, some men may try to escape severe punishment by accusing their partners of adultery or fake mental health problems, law advocates said.

This is not the first time the issue of domestic violence in palestinian Arab society has been reported, but invariably it is linked to Israel. For instance, take this Al Jazeera report from November last year:

Abu Srour said the persistence of domestic violence against women in Palestine could be attributed to three main things: an inherited patriarchal culture, discriminatory laws against women and lack of protections, and the Israeli occupation.

I posit another possible reason for high levels of domestic violence in Gaza and, indeed, palestinian Arab society. Gazan children are taught to hate the Jew – who they say are the children of apes and pigs who stole their land – and encourage our murder. This breeds frustration, hatred, and devalues human life. Add to this the fact armed terrorists roaming the streets is as common a sight as anything else, and you have a recipe for disaster – not just for Israel but also Gazan women.

By the way, can you recall any so-called human rights groups or ‘activists’ speaking out for Gaza’s women? Me neither.


Tags: Gaza Israel Reuters

David Lange

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

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