Always more inequality for Palestinian women

Living under occupation has deprived Palestinian women of their most basic human rights, on both sides of the Green Line.

This includes severe limitation to family reunification and citizenship acquisition, to access to medical and social services, and to the right to custody of their children.  

While most foreign nationals who marry Israelis can obtain Israel nationality, Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) who do so are denied naturalisation. This openly discriminatory ban stops families and children from reuniting and enjoying normal lives, and it affects mostly Palestinian women.  

Religious courts are still ruling 

This discrimination against Palestinian women is further aggravated by religious and patriarchal control, as Israel has continued to impose religious law over family and personal status issue, both in Israel and the OPT. These policies severely limit Palestinian women’s rights in matters of divorce, child custody, alimony, inheritance, and assets, all which are in violation of the Articles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), ratified by Israel in 1991. 

Even though civil family courts now exist for Palestinian women living in Israel, religious courts are still the ruling authority over marriage and divorce, as there is still no civil marriage within Israel. Kayan Association, a member of EuroMed Rights, is advocating to raise the issue of civil marriage in Israel, since its absence has negative consequences on women’s rights – especially in cases of divorce and separation. 

Watch our video on the topic:

Imposing discriminatory and religion-based family laws constitutes a violation of the CEDAW and of International Human Rights Law. 

New government, less hope 

In December 2022, Israel’s new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in. With new conservative far-right officials such as Itamar Ben-Gvir (National Security Minister), Bezalel Smotrich (Finance Minister) and Avi Maoz (head of “Jewish National Identity” Agency), Israel’s annexation ambitions have been openly stated. 

The declarations made, and actions taken so far by the new government, leave little to no margin to hope for any improvement in the respect of human rights of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. Once again, Palestinian women will probably pay the highest price.