Israa Ghareeb, 21, has been beaten to death in Bethlehem by her father and brother for appearing publicly with her fiancé before the official ceremony. The brutality of her death and the sickening honour culture at its root has inspired activists across the Arab world to campaign for her and against honour violence.
Israa, 21 years old from Bethlehem, passed away on Thursday having suffered a stroke caused by her injuries.
Israa posted on social media showing that she was with her fiancé in a restaurant in Bethlehem. This post was shared by her cousin with her father and Canadian brother. Her cousin said that such behaviour was bringing shame on the family and that her father must do something. Her Canadian brother, Ihab, was angered, agreeing that it brought ‘dishonour.’
Her father and brothers then beat Israa so badly her spine was broken and she was admitted to hospital. From hospital the young make up artist updated her clients that she was unwell and unable to work for a period. She also shared with friends on social media that she had been beaten.
Her brother then visited her in hospital and attacked her again. An incredibly disturbing video of her shrieking as she is being beaten is circulating online. Many claim this to have been recorded by a doctor or nurse. A nurse from Ramallah stated:
‘If someone was able to record this attack could they not have done something to prevent it? We sign an oath to not allow harm to come to patients, this must be investigated.’
She then returned home to be later found dead having suffered a stroke. Her family deny all allegations and have claimed at one point that she was possessed by a jin and at another point that she died of a heart attack.
The head of the governorate Mohamed Ishtaya has stated that ‘we must strengthen the system of protecting Palestinian women.’
This brutal and devastating attack on a young life has caused the youth to come together and collectively pay their respects to Israa and stand against honour crime. The hashtag ‘We are Israa Ghrayeb’ in Arabic is trending across the Arab world.