Palestinian women who refused to wear a head covering were punished with a burka in the village of Qabaa in the occupied West Bank.
The women were forced to remove the burkas and face-coverings as punishment, according to Al Jazeera.
A local official said that after a group of Palestinians from the village, including the women, complained to the police, they were forced by security forces to remove their burkas, according a statement from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Gaza Strip.
The headscarf was part of the Islamic dress code and the burka was mandatory in the West Bank, including in the Gaza Strip, as a punishment for women who violate the dress code.
The group of women, known as the “Hajjat al-Qabaa”, was formed last year by a number of female students and teachers in the Qabaya area, which is located on the border with Israel, according the statement.
According to the statement, “we are not ashamed of the burqa or of its rules and customs.”
The PA has launched an anti-blasphemy campaign in response to the alleged persecution of Muslim women.
The PA is not the only Palestinian government agency that has used this tactic to enforce the dress codes.
Last year, the Palestinian Health Ministry launched a campaign called “Protect Your Head” to combat the “unacceptable” dress code in the Palestinian territories.
The campaign, launched in early January, instructed Palestinians to cover their hair as a preventive measure against the growing trend of the “sarafiyya” (literally, “headscarf”) and “hijab” (also “scarf”), which were popular among Palestinian youth at the time.
The campaigns were widely condemned as being anti-Arab and discriminatory and were condemned by Human Rights Watch in a January report.
The Palestinian Health ministry has also issued a decree, published on its website, banning the use of any type of hijab, and the “hilal” (a Muslim practice of covering one’s face in public) and the niqab (face covering that covers only the eyes).
However, the campaign has faced criticism from Palestinian rights groups and activists.
Al Jazeera spoke to a spokesperson for the Palestinian Women’s Rights Organization (YPRO), which has been documenting cases of the hijab and niqabi in the PA, and he explained that the “head covering” and “burka” were part of a campaign to impose a strict dress code on Palestinian women.
“In the current social climate, we can’t allow people to dress up, to dress down and to wear any kind of attire they want.
They are not allowed to have a normal life,” said YPRO’s Fatima al-Masri.
She added that it was a form of punishment that “has no place in a modern society.
It’s just against our values.”
The headcoverings have been seen as a symbol of oppression and discrimination against women in Palestinian society.
Al-Masirah Al-Arabi, a columnist for the local daily Al-Ahram, wrote in an opinion piece that the hijab was a symbol that “the Palestinians had a sense of superiority over us.”
“For years, Palestinians have been wearing the headscarves because it is a symbol to them of their superiority over the Israelis.
They have used it as a badge of shame,” he said.
“It is a sign of oppression.”
The campaign is just the latest in a series of campaigns that have targeted Palestinian women in recent years.
Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an end to the “slaughter of the Palestinian people” and an end “to the oppression of women”.
The US, European Union, and Arab League have condemned the burkini and the hijab.
Last week, the EU and several countries including Canada and the US, urged the Palestinian government to stop its campaign against women.
According, the European Commission stated that the headcovering “has not been an effective tool in preventing violence and violence against women”.
According to Palestinian Women Against Racism, a group dedicated to defending Palestinian women’s rights, the number of Palestinian women killed in the Occupied Territories by Israel is currently estimated at at least 300.
According a study by the International Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty (ICTAP), 1,724 Palestinians were killed in Israeli military or security forces in 2016, and an additional 1,400 were wounded.
More than half of the fatalities were civilians, while the rest were civilians who were unarmed and who were targeted because they were Palestinian, or because they wore clothing that the Israeli military deemed “unIslamic”.
According a 2016 report by the UN Human Rights Council, the Israeli government “lacks effective mechanisms to address violations against women and girls, including gender-based violence.”
The United Nations Human Rights Office, meanwhile, has called for the implementation of a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual violence, including sexual harassment, physical violence, and harassment, against women, girls, and children.