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Protesters call for stricter laws after woman stabbed to death

Aug. 1, 2012 9:12 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2012 4:11 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Dozens of women and rights activists demonstrated in Bethlehem on Wednesday demanding stricter laws to stop violence against women.

The demonstration was held on al-Madbasa street where Nancy Zaboun, 29, was stabbed to death in broad daylight on Monday. Witnesses said Zaboun's estranged husband slit her throat. He was arrested at the scene, police said.

Women held banners and chanted demanding respect for women and punishment for those who attack them.

A coalition of 15 women's institutes in Bethlehem says there has been an escalation in violence against women and that four women have been murdered by their relatives in the West Bank and Gaza in the last two weeks.

The groups blamed authorities' reckless attitudes and failure to punish attackers for the rise in violence.

Khawla al-Azraq, a member of the General Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Women, called on Palestinian society to take responsibility for ending crimes against women.

Al-Azraq told Ma'an that women's rights groups had said an urgent message to President Mahmoud Abbas calling for a committee to investigate the stabbing in Bethlehem.

Police said Monday that Zaboun's husband had beaten her on Sunday night. Police were called and the man agreed to sign a pledge that he would not beat her again.

Zaboun's parents say they will set up a tent in Beit Jala square to condemn the murder of their daughter and are demanding the death penalty for their son-in-law.

The suspect's family has issued a statement condemning the murder. The incident has raised tensions in the West Bank city amid threats of retribution.
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