Brutal murder of Palestinian gay man is a reminder to all LGBT people
A 25 year old man was killed. His attacker first brutalized and then beheaded him. Did I mention he was gay? Did I mention he was Palestinian? And did I mention that he had fled Palestine and applied for political asylum in Israel because he was frightened for his life? But he was killed not in Israel, where he had escaped to for security, but in Hebron, Palestine.
His name was Ahmad Hacham Hamdi abu Marakhia. He had to escape Palestine after his sexual orientation was revealed. Palestinian authorities told him his life would be in danger if he even returned to Palestine. Then he was beheaded, and as a message to other LGBT people in Palestine, as the Associated Press reported, "Graphic footage taken by Palestinian youths who happened upon Abu Murkhiyeh's dismembered body on a hillside rippled through WhatsApp groups, provoking shock and horror, before being taken down."
This is by far the the most explicit admission by the Palestinian Authorities on how they as a state oppress LGBT people and allow the brutalization and killing of LGBT people in Palestinian lands. Rather than telling him that they would protect him, they told him to leave.
He did, and he went to Israel to start the process to seek political asylum in Canada. But before he left he felt a need to say farewell to his family in Palestine. When he did, he was beheaded. This happened on October 5th.
Another reason for his brutal murder was that he wasn't silent about the plight in Palestine for LGBT people who want to be openly LGBT, and he had a community of friends. But building LGBT community in Palestine can be, and is, incredibly dangerous.
In 2019, the Palestinian Authority issued an official statement encouraging members of the public to report on the activities of LGBTQ+ groups in the West Bank.
According to Pink News "Some queer people in Palestine have reported instances of corrupt officers keeping tabs on LGBTQ+ citizens and some being blackmailed into working as pieces or informants for law enforcement."
Eran Rosenzweig, an LGBTQ+ Palestinian activist in Israel, told Pink News that Ahmed's death was particularly devastating. "Rosenzweig said LGBTQ+ Palestinians "are not safe here" in Israel because they are in constant fear of persecution from their families and the Palestinian Authority as they face lengthy wait times for asylum abroad."
San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter in attempting to report the story wrote the following: "The B.A.R. reached out to several Bay Area Palestinian and Jewish LGBTQ organizations for comment but did not receive a response."
That's the problem with many U.S. LGBT activists. They rush to condemn Israel for its apartheid treatment of Palestinians, and they are so married to that narrative that they are blinded by the horrific treatment of LGBT people by the Palestinian Government. While they yell pink washing and demand a boycott of Israel, they lionize Palestine.
There is a simple solution, feel free to call a boycott of Israel, and also do the same for Palestine. That is, unless you want to support a state that virtually sanctions the brutalization and killing of Gay men and lesbian woman. Each time you say pinkwashing, it allows this practice to continue. Each time you ignore anti-Semitism masquerading as Palestinian liberation, you allow this practice to continue.
Mark Segal is an American journalist. He is the founder and publisher of Philadelphia Gay News and has won numerous journalism awards for his column "Mark My Words," including best column by The National Newspaper Association, Suburban Newspaper Association and The Society of Professional Journalists.