Arab Woman Demand End to Custom That Left Them Homeless

Women from the Galilee village of Deir al-Asad are demanding an end to an age-old Arab custom that has forced them out of their homes, after a member of their clan allegedly killed a member of a rival clan.

Some 70 members of the Musa family were forced to leave their homes in the village after the murder four months ago. The women are now calling to be allowed to return safely, with their children, until a truce is reached.

"All I want is to go home," said Reem Musa a few days ago.

She complained to her father that she had done "nothing wrong" and did not deserve to be punished.

Arab custom stipulates the family of the alleged murderer must leave its dwelling until a truce is reached, in order to prevent bloodshed and retaliation.

However, attempts to mend relations between the clans have been hampered by local politicians hoping to exploit the conflict for personal gain, village sources said.

The clan's children have stopped going to school, and members complain the family has fallen apart. In order to pay the bills, the men have been working as construction workers, while the women have opened a catering company.

"We share the pain of the murder victim's mother," a woman from the Musa family said. "But why do we need to leave our house? Where is the logic? I'm not the one who murdered anyone."