Chesler Chronicles

Killed for Being Pregnant with a Baby Girl

What can we conclude from an horrific murder on the West Bank?

Today, near Nablus, on the West Bank, a Palestinian husband killed his wife because an ultrasound test had revealed she was carrying a female fetus. Although this man already had three sons, he was said to envy his brother who had nine sons. Knowing nothing about biology (sperm is responsible for determining the gender of offspring), this as-yet-unnamed man killed his wife for failing to give him what he wanted. “Palestinian police officials said the argument that followed the ultrasound test was just one of many and that it was not the sole reason behind the murder…According to police, abrasions were found on the man’s body, indicating that the wife struggled as he was choking her to death.”

Technically, this poor woman did not “disobey” her husband or their cultural values by talking to another man or by trying to leave the marriage in which she was, allegedly, routinely battered; but she had “disobeyed” the culture’s preference for boys over girls. Thus, we may think of this as the act of a batterer-murderer but also as a specific kind of honor killing, one that does not ostensibly involve the hands-on participation of the victim’s family-of-origin or the husband’s family-of-origin—a more cultural honor killing in which one lone domestic terrorist seeks to enforce his culture’s increasingly misogynist values. As I’ve recently shown in my second study on honor killings world-wide in Middle East Quarterly, there are two kinds of honor killings and/or two distinct victim populations which differ by age, and this honor killing may represent yet a third type of honor killing.

To continue reading my piece at Fox News, here is the link.