The organisation Al Qaws – meaning “the bow” in Arabic - has been banned from carrying out any activities in the West Bank by the Palestinian Authority. The group represents and advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Palestinians, but any activity conducted on their behalf could lead to arrest.
The ban follows a planned event by the group on the subject of sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society in the West Bank town of Nablus at the end of August which has now been outlawed, with the PA Police spokesperson Luay Zreikat stating that the activities of Al-Qaws are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Given the unsafe circumstances, the organisation has its offices based in East Jerusalem and in the city of Haifa within Israel.
Zreikat said that the group’s activities were completely “unrelated to religions and Palestinian traditions and customs, especially in the city of Nablus,” and that the PA police will chase those behind the LGBTQ group and ensure they are brought to trial once arrested. Zreikat further appealed to Palestinians to report to the police on any individual connected to the group.
Despite the threat, Al-Qaws vowed to continue its work.
As bad as this scenario is, according to many reports, if you identify as LGBTQ and live in Gaza under the control of Hamas, you either stay in the closet, or escape its borders. The discovery of homosexuality leads to execution, as it does in Iran and 12 countries where homosexuality is legally punishable by death.