Divorce in the Palestinian Society. A problem? Or a solution for family problems? And possibilities to avoid it


Psychosocial Counseling Center for Women launched a study entitled: “Divorce in the Palestinian Society. A problem? Or a solution for family problems? And possibilities to avoid it” by researcher Laura Adwan, where two workshops were held to launch the study, first one in the Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industry / Hebron, and the second at Palestine Ahliya University / Bethlehem.

The study was issued by the Psychosocial Counseling Center for Women in April 2021 as part of a joint project with the Health Work Committees that aims to promote reproductive and sexual health as a right enjoyed by all women and girls in Palestine, with the support of Amplify Change.

The study aims to understand the causes leading to divorce and its repercussions on the Palestinian family and society in general, in order to develop practical indicative plans by the concerned institutions to confront the problems resulting from divorce and reduce its negative effects.

Although divorce is not considered a phenomenon in Palestinian society in view of the rates of divorced women and divorced men, the number of divorce cases increases significantly as indicated by the observations in the study and confirmed by the figures issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, which indicate that the number of divorce cases doubled between the years 1997 – 2018, especially in the first years of marriage, in addition to that half of the registered divorce cases took place before the wedding, or what is referred to as “before the actual consummation of marriage.

The study concluded that economic and political conditions force many families, girls, and young men to arrange marriages in which the possibilities of choice and understanding are absent, in an attempt to escape poverty or other social and economic problems. And that “Al-Naseeb” is often a marriage that was arranged due to the circumstances that brought them together with the partner, often at the suggestion of a third party close to the young man. However, with a careful reading of what the women narrated and deducing that the possibilities of refusal and/or approval were in most cases depending on the circumstances of the families of the girl and the young man and their other options.

Among the results of the study also is that divorce in most of the cases mentioned by the participating women, seemed to be the only solution to accumulated family problems, and here another problem emerged related to the difficulty of divorce procedures, in addition to the complex relationships that resulted in marriage between the two families, the family, and the children, and the different expectations of the partners and their contributions to building the marital home which is no longer exists.

The study came out with a set of recommendations directed to address the needs that are still unanswered by this group and the institutions working with them and included practical recommendations proposed by the women and men who participated in the study, emphasizing that dealing with the causes of family problems and the effects of divorce requires changes from a broader holistic perspective which takes into account the economic and political reality with the impact of the continued settlement colonization of the Palestinian space and the relevant Israeli policies in disrupting the possibilities of economic and societal development, which restricts the options of Palestinian young girls and men in marriage and/or divorce and reduces the possibilities of building a family that provides a decent life for its members.

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