A 21-year-old Palestinian killed by the male members of her family in an “honor crime” incident shocked Palestine and the Middle East this weekend.
Israa Ghrayeb, a makeup artist from Bethlehem, West Bank was murdered in cold blood by members of her family who had beaten and tortured her till she died.
While much details of the circumstances around Israa’s death are still unclear the victim’s friends confirmed she was killed by the male members of her family after she posted a video of her outing with a man who she was soon to be engaged to.
On the internet, the #كلنا_إسراء [#WeAreAllIsraa] hashtag began trending online with social media users posting messages of solidarity and calling for justice.
However, people’s reactions on the internet also varied between rushing to clear Israa and acquitting her from “dishonoring” the family as she met the man with the knowledge of her family and others who blamed her cousin for prompting the murder in the first place. This is regardless of the fact an innocent woman was killed in an “honor crime” as a result of a patriarchal society that gives male relatives the right to kill women.
The reactions only highlighted the hypocrisy of many in the Middle East who speak of freedoms and women’s rights as long as it does not affect their female relatives.
What horrifies me the most about the story of Israa is that the amount of condemnation that is coupled with “she did nothing wrong” & “she had her family’s permission”.
Women who break the rules & don’t listen to their families don’t deserve violence either.
Let’s be careful.
— Nooran A. (@nooranhamdan) August 30, 2019
Several narratives to the story have emerged. One from family members who denied the allegation of deliberately killing the victim, claiming Israa suffered from mental and psychological disorders leading to her fall from the second floor of their house.
Meanwhile, Israa’s friends confirmed her death was an honor crime killing.
They confirmed however, Israa died in a coma as a result of the brutal torture she was subjected to by her family. This came after a cousin had reportedly prompted Israa’s male relatives to the video Israa posted on her social media account and which was later used against her. It was felt this “brought shame” and they needed to cleanse the family honor for meeting a man outside the bonds of marriage.
One horrifying audio recording has gone viral on the internet for Israa while being attacked by her family members in the hospital. According to Israa friends, the audio was recorded and leaked by one of the nurses who could not stop the family from beating her.
While Al Bawaba could not verify the audio’s credibility, Israa’s other family members confirmed on Facebook her screams were heard because they were performing an exorcism as they believed she was possessed.
She was recorded screaming in a hospital full of people in broad daylight and not a SINGLE person helped her. Tell me the entire hospital staff are not party to murder! There is no safety in society for women when medical staff let women be killed.
— Hawzhin Azeez (@Dr_HawzhinAzeez) September 1, 2019
The story has taken the Arabic-language internet and social media by storm causing mass outrage among users, activists, and celebrities who condemn honor crimes and the patriarchal system in Arab societies.
Palestinians have gone on protests to demand justice for Israa and take legal action against her family members as the Palestine Authority confirmed an investigation was launched in the matter with no more details.