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Israel: Gay Palestinian Man Beheaded After Receiving Death Threats

Gruesome murder of gay Palestinian shocks Israel

A gay Palestinian living in Israel under asylum was killed and beheaded on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The 25-year-old victim, identified as Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh, had been living in Israel for two years as an asylum seeker after authorities recognized that his life would be in danger on Palestinian territory, according to Hebrew media.

An unnamed suspect was arrested by West Bank Palestinian Authority (PA) police near the scene of the crime shortly after it was committed. The suspect recorded the act in a video that he uploaded to social networks.

Rita Petrenko, founder of Al-Bayt Al-Mukhtalif, a non-profit organization for the empowerment of the LGBT Arab community, said she helped organize Abu Murkhiyeh’s asylum papers in preparation for his eventual resettlement in Canada and that he I’d actively participated in LGBT discussion groups. Describing the young man as “hardworking and intelligent”, Ella Petrenko lamented that he had not been transferred to a safe place in Canada before his life was brutally taken.

Palestinian social media seized on the gruesome murder but remained silent on the issue of Abu Murkhiyeh’s sexuality. Homosexuality remains deeply taboo in the Palestinian territories, where traditional norms play a prominent role in social and political life.

Still, there was a lot of outrage in the West Bank. Graphic images taken by Palestinian youths stumbling across the dismembered body of Abu Murkhiyeh on a hillside spread through WhatsApp groups, causing shock and horror, before being deleted.

“This is a very ugly crime,” an elderly relative, also named Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh, told Palestinian radio station Al Karama. “Such a thing should not be discussed.”

Abu Murkhiyeh’s family issued a statement of mourning, offering blessings and asking for privacy after “this heinous and unprecedented crime that shook the homeland.”

The family claimed that Abu Murkhiyeh lived and worked between Hebron and neighboring Jordan, where he was his late father.

As news of Abu Murkhiyeh’s death spread, a markedly different version of events emerged from Israel. LGBTQ organizations and emergency shelters that help gay asylum seekers said they knew he was gay and were desperate to escape the Palestinian territories, where he was a target.

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