Maher Shakirat summoned three of his sisters to discuss a family uproar after one of them, Rudaina, was thrown out by her husband for an alleged affair. Then he forced the three women to drink bleach before strangling Rudaina. The other sisters tried to flee but Maher caught and strangled Amani, 20. The third, Leila, escaped but was badly injured by the bleach. The murders were the latest in a series of brutal "honour killings" that have shaken the Palestinian community over recent weeks. The deaths have prompted demands for a change to laws that deem all women to be "minors" under the authority of male relatives.
But those calls have met with resistance in parliament where religious Palestinian MPs argue that reform will lead to a collapse in the moral fabric of society. "Men feel they have lost their dignity and that they can somehow restore it by upholding the family's honour. We've noticed recent cases are much more violent in nature; attempts to kill, rape, incest. There is an incredible amount of incest."
Amira Abu Hanhan Qaoud murdered her daughter, Rafayda, because she became pregnant after being raped by two of her brothers. "My daughter fell over and broke her knee. I took her to hospital and there the doctor told me she was pregnant. So I killed her. It's as simple as that," said Mrs Qaoud on her doorstep in Ramallah. Mrs Qaoud waited until the baby was born and given up for adoption. Then she presented her 22 year-old daughter with a razor blade and told her to slash her wrists. She refused so her mother pulled a plastic bag over her head, sliced her wrists and beat her head with a stick.