Palestinian tribal leaders stand against women’s equality treaty
The leaders on Saturday called for the Palestinian Authority to withdraw from the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which it signed in 2014.
Parties to CEDAW, first introduced in 1981, are required to repeal laws discriminatory against women and take steps to protect women from discrimination and violence, enshrining the full equality of women and men before the law.
After meeting in the city of Hebron on Saturday, the tribal leaders issued a bizarre statement calling for the complete rejection of CEDAW and “all it implies”, the Palestinian Watan news agency reported.
The leaders took things further and called for a ban on all feminist organisations.
“The Palestinian Authority must withdraw and cancel this agreement and call for the closure of all the feminist institutions and those supporting them in Palestine. There are hundreds of them in Palestine and we call for the cancellation of their rental agreements.
"Anyone who rents [premises] to them is a partner in [their] crimes,” the statement continued.
The tribal leaders also called for feminist groups to be denied access to schools and told judges not to apply a recently passed Palestinian Authority law raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 for both genders.
They also warned the media against covering activities of feminist organisations and to “support the Palestinian people and tribes instead”.
The CEDAW treaty has been controversial in Palestine and lawyers and human rights activists who support it have been attacked as “traitors” and “unbelievers [in Islam]” by conservative Palestinians.
Some Palestinian activists have said that the implementation of the CEDAW treaty needs to be adjusted to the requirements of Palestinian culture and the Muslim religion.
Dina Azouni told the Middle East focused news website The Media Line, “in the matter of inheritance, the majority of the people refuse to distribute it except on the basis of religion and Islamic law, not gender equality. Not to mention same-sex marriage that is totally rejected in our society.”
Mahmoud Habash, an advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on religious affairs said on Saturday, “In the State of Palestine, even though we’ve signed the CEDAW treaty, we reject anything not in accord with our religion, heritage, and values.”