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Queers for Palestine

Under Hamas rule in Gaza, LGBTQ+ Palestinians face severe persecution, including torture and execution.

By Yuval David, Algemeiner

In the Gaza Strip, the harsh reality for LGBTQ+ Palestinians under Hamas rule is one of severe persecution and brutality.

Hamas, the Islamist organization that governs Gaza, enforces Sharia law, under which homosexuality is not merely illegal, but punishable by extreme measures — including torture and execution.

This oppression starkly contrasts with the freedoms enjoyed by LGBTQ+ individuals just across the border in Israel, where the queer community is protected by laws, and is fully integrated into society.

Being queer in Gaza and in Palestinian controlled regions is a perilous existence

For LGBTQ+ Palestinians in Gaza, life is a constant peril.

Human rights organizations have documented numerous cases where Hamas has executed individuals suspected of being gay or lesbian.

These executions are often publicized through videos and photos as a method of instilling fear and demonstrating the regime’s strict adherence to its interpretation of Sharia law.

The intent is clear: to eliminate any form of dissent and maintain a strict moral code as defined by their interpretation of Islamic law.

Hamas’ treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals includes brutal practices such as executions and torture, and the US State Department confirms that both Hamas — and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank — persecute gay people.

Reports of this oppression are distressingly common. Such acts are not only a violation of basic human rights, but also a clear indication of the regime’s intolerance and cruelty towards LGBTQ+ individuals.

A desperate flight to safety — queer Palestinians must get out in order to be “out”

Faced with such severe repression, scores of LGBTQ+ Palestinians risk their lives annually to escape to Israel. The journey is fraught with danger.

They must evade detection by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, navigate the perilous border, and often rely on clandestine networks to seek refuge.

The contrast between the two regions is stark: in Israel, LGBTQ+ individuals find legal protection, social acceptance, and community support that are entirely absent in Gaza.

Israel offers a sanctuary where LGBTQ+ rights are enshrined in law.

The state provides comprehensive healthcare, including for LGBTQ+ individuals, and there is significant representation and advocacy for the community.

Israel ranks among the top countries in the world with the highest percentage of LGBTQ lawmakers and politicians.

Israeli cities like Tel Aviv are known globally for their vibrant LGBTQ+ scenes, where Pride parades and public celebrations are common, symbolizing the freedom and acceptance that are standard in Israeli society.

The grim irony of asylum seeking…

This irony is not lost on the LGBTQ+ Palestinians who seek asylum in Israel.

They flee from a regime that openly tortures and executes them for their identity to a nation that, while politically and militarily opposed to Hamas, provides them with refuge and safety.

This situation highlights a profound human rights issue that transcends political boundaries and underscores the fundamental right to live without fear of persecution for one’s identity.

For those who make it to Israel, the transition is dramatic. Many experience the relief of living openly for the first time, supported by a network of LGBTQ+ organizations and advocates who assist them in integrating into society.

They find a stark contrast in a country that upholds LGBTQ+ rights, providing a glimpse of the freedoms they have been denied in Gaza.

International response and responsibility exists, but is far too silent, uncaring, and ignoring of LGBTQ needs of Palestinians

The international community has largely been silent on the plight of LGBTQ+ individuals in Gaza and Palestinian territories in the West Bank, which are often overshadowed by broader geopolitical conflicts. However, this issue demands attention and action.

Human rights organizations have called for increased awareness and pressure on Hamas to cease its brutal practices against LGBTQ+ people.

The global community must support efforts to provide safe passage and asylum for those fleeing persecution, and push for broader human rights reforms in regions under oppressive regimes.

Notably, the voices of protestors who accuse Israel of human rights violations are completely silent about the actual human rights violations of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority against their own people — especially in the LGBTQ+ community.

Moreover, it is essential to recognize the bravery of LGBTQ+ Palestinians who speak out against the regime, often at great personal risk for themselves and their loved ones.

Their voices are crucial in highlighting the human rights abuses they endure and advocating for the freedoms they seek.

A call for compassion and justice; Hamas targets Palestinian LGBTQ along with targeting Israelis

The harsh treatment of LGBTQ+ Palestinians under Hamas is a grievous violation of human rights that demands urgent attention. While the geopolitical complexities of the Israeli Palestinian conflict are immense, the basic human rights of LGBTQ+ individuals should not be overshadowed.

Their suffering is a stark reminder of the brutality faced by marginalized groups under oppressive regimes.

In a world where LGBTQ+ rights are increasingly recognized as fundamental human rights, the plight of LGBTQ+ Palestinians under Hamas is a call to action.

It is a call for compassion, for justice, and for the global community to stand against the persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation.

Their journey from fear to freedom highlights the profound impact of living in a society that respects and protects the rights of all its citizens, regardless of their identity — and puts the differences between Israel and Hamas in stark contrast.


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