On the night of July 3, the body of 34-year-old Suha Baz was discovered by a passer-by in the passenger seat of a vehicle, between the village of Kurbera and the town of Kafr Qasem. She had sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the upper part of her body, and the first aid crew was unable to resuscitate her. The reasons for her murder are presently under investigation and no suspect as yet been arrested.
Suha was married to a Palestinian man from Gaza and left four children behind her. According to her mother, she was soon going to travel to Gaza after one year without seeing her husband.
A strong sense of indignation and anger remains in the village after this murder. As the investigation started, Suha’s relatives demanded that all political parties as well as community social and education workers commit actively to putting an end to violence against women.
Indeed, the murder of Suha must not be framed as an isolated event. Justice for victims like Suha requires sustained public scrutiny of violence against women and immediate community action on the issue. In the past 10 years, 75 Palestinian women in Israel have been killed by relatives who claimed to be protecting family “honor” alone; this statistic does not include deaths as a result of domestic violence, perpetrated by non-relatives or not justified by “honor” (1).
On April 26, 2013, after the murder of two other women, the Committee against the Killing of Women (2) called for the urgent engagement of the Arab community to put an end to the crisis of gender-based violence and the killing of women. Adella Biadi, Kayan’s representative to the Committee Against the Killing of Women, said, “It is time to isolate all who would support the killing of women. We have an obligation to ensure the right of every woman to live in freedom and security. The veil of silence in our community must be broken.”
(1)Status of the Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel, The NGO’s Alternative report submitted to the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, by the Working Group on the Status of the Palestinian Women Citizens of Israel, 2006.
(2)The Committee Against the Killing of Women is an association of twelve organizations, including Kayan-Feminist Organization, Assiwar-The Feminist Arab Movement In Support Victims of Sexual Abuse, Muntada – The Arab Forum for Sexuality, Education and Health, Aswat-Palestinian Gay Women, Baladna-Association for Arab Youth, Mada Al-Carmel-Arab Center for Applied Social Research, Women Against Violence, the Mossawa Center-the Advocacy Center for Palestinian Arab Citizens in Israel, Al-Tufula Center-Women’s Empowerment Center, and Na’am – Arab Women in the Center.