The Palestinian Authority has banned members of the Palestinian Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual (LGTB) community from carrying out any activities in the West Bank because they are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.”
The ban came after the grassroots group Al-Qaws, was planning to hold a gathering for its members in Nablus at the end of this month. The group operates both in the West Bank and among Arab Israelis.
Called Al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, the group is a civil society organization established in 2001 with the goal of “fighting for vibrant Palestinian cultural and social change, building LGTB communities and promoting new ideas about the role of gender and sexual diversity in political activism, civil society institutions, media, and everyday life.”
Luay Zreikat, spokesperson for the Palestine Authority Police, said that such LGBT activities are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.”
Zreikat also said that the group’s activities were completely “unrelated to religions and Palestinian traditions and customs, especially in the city of Nablus.”
A member of Al-Qaws said that since the police announcement of the banning of the groups gathering that they have received hundreds of threats and hate messages from Palestinians, especially through Facebook. “The attack on us is unprecedented. They are calling us traitors and corrupt people and many are calling for our execution. We are afraid for our lives.”
(LGBT) people in Palestine face legal challenges and discrimination not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Homosexuality is illegal in the Gaza Strip but usually not in the West Bank, although LGBT rights are not protected in either.
Gay Palestinians frequently seek refuge in Israel fearing for their lives, especially fearing death from members of their own families.
SOURCE: Jerusalem Post