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 Providing effective legal and judicial guarantees to ensure the success of the Palestinian legislative and presidential elections

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Date:  27  Jan 2021

 

 

 Providing effective legal and judicial guarantees to ensure the success of the Palestinian legislative and presidential elections

The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) highly appreciates your well-known role in ensuring the promotion of human rights.
With reference to the above subject, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree setting the dates for holding the comprehensive Palestinian elections consecutively, as the legislative elections will be held on 22 May 2021, the presidential elections on 31 July, and the National Council on 31 August.

the International Commission for Supporting Palestinian Rights (ICSPR) sent all the institutions of the international community Among them: Secretary-General of the United Nations , High Commissioner for Human  Rights ,United Nations Peace Process Coordinator, President of the Human Rights Council , UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory , UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and UN Special Rapporteur on the right to development.

In this regard, ICSPR is pleased to share with you its view regarding the necessary political, legal and judicial guarantees to provide a suitable environment for holding elections:

  • Providing the political environment for elections: The holding of elections requires a political environment to provide all the requirements for its integrity and success by adopting practical goodwill steps that include the immediate abolition of the sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip, the release of arbitrary and political detainees, and holding the temporary leadership framework to activate the PLO, respect public freedoms, including freedom of opinion and expression, the cessation of political disputes and exclusion policies, and the cessation of any form of summons for political reasons or matters related to party and political affiliation or activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • The Central Elections Commission: The need for the Central Elections Commission to carry out its democratic, professional and independent work in organizing, managing and controlling the electoral process, ensuring unified efforts for the success of the electoral process and playing its role with other parties to ensure broad community participation, and sponsoring an electoral charter of honor between all parties competing in the elections, and providing all the positive climates necessary to activate the role of internal and external oversight bodies over the electoral process.
  • Election law: Elections in all their stages must be governed by a law that organizes them. The law is the determining factor for the standards for conducting elections, which requires the need to review all legal texts regulating the electoral process, on the basis of ensuring the existence of a consensual electoral law that comes in the context of a societal dialogue that preserves democratic life and works to consecrate the principle of pluralism and prevent exclusion. Although there is consensus on the system of comprehensive proportional representation and some claims, no agreement has been reached on which law the elections will be based on, the law by decision on presidential elections and the Legislative Council of the National Authority No. (1) of 2007 and its amendments, or the amendment of the election law approved by the Legislative Council of 2005. It seems that the president decided the matter in the election decree that the Decree Law No. (1) of 2007 is the law on which the elections will take place, despite the presence of amendments by the President in approving the election of a head of state instead of the authority, even if this requires an amendment in the Basic Law and other amendments to the election law. The law emphasized that elections should be conducted according to a comprehensive proportional representation system, considering the Palestinian territories as one electoral district, and whoever wishes to run for elections must be presented on an electoral list with no less than 16 candidates, thus providing a real guarantee for political pluralism and prevents exclusivity as much as possible in managing public affairs. However, this system must add clear texts that prevent further controversy, whether in the nature of the dealings by the Election Commission with candidates’ lists, and does dropping some of the candidates mean dropping the list, the conditions for candidacy, the distribution of votes and seats, the exit of a member from the list to another list after the election and other questions.
  • About the electoral court and appeals: The election law stipulated the formation of an election court consisting of a president and eight judges, upon the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, and perhaps this text was the subject of discussion in Cairo, where the Cairo Reconciliation Agreement agreed that consensus should be reached on its formation and the selection of judges who enjoy integrity, transparency and independence. Especially in light of the absence of the unity of the judiciary and the lack of guarantees for its independence in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and in light of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 11 January 2021, issued four new decisions related to the judicial affairs in Palestine, which are: Law No. (40) of 2020 amending the Authority Law Judicial No. (1) of 2002, the decision by law No. (39) for of 2020 regarding the formation of regular courts, and the decision by law No. (41) of 2020 regarding the administrative courts. In addition to the decision to promote a number of First Instance judges to appeal judges, and a decision to refer six judges to early retirement based on a placement from the Transitional Supreme Judicial Council without any compelling legal reasons, which confirms the exclusionary nature of the decision, and a decision appointing Judge Issa Abu Sharar, former president of the Transitional Judicial Council (86) years, as president of the Supreme Judicial Council, and Judge Farid Aql his deputy. These decisions, which were rejected by all the forces of society, especially the Bar Association, were viewed as a means of further undermining the Palestinian judicial authority and a picture of the continued domination and encroachment of the executive authority over the judiciary. This puts big question marks about the expected role of the judiciary in the upcoming elections.
  • Censorship and freedom of electoral campaign propaganda: Work to provide complete freedom of political campaign, publishing, and holding political and electoral meetings without harassment and without the need for prior permission, while ensuring the impartiality of the security services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and not interfering with elections or propaganda for any political party and does not affect the course of the electoral process, and prohibiting the use of ministries and official bodies in the interest of any party or list participating in the elections, providing equal opportunities for all the forces and lists participating in the official media without discrimination, and organizing government financial funding for electoral campaigns in a way that guarantees justice and equality, equal opportunities for all the lists and participating forces and providing equal support to them, in addition to their full compliance with the law and international standards for conducting elections and not agreeing to exclude any of the candidates or electoral lists as long as they meet the legal conditions and in a manner that guarantees the integrity of their role and the independence of their decision. With the importance of working existing an international and internal supervision of the elections, to ensure that the occupation does not interfere in favor of an electoral team or list, or to ensure that it is not locally rigged, which protects the will of the electorate and protects the elected representatives.

In light of the foregoing, we look forward to your role in monitoring the upcoming Palestinian elections, hoping that you will work seriously with and alongside all concerned parties to:

  • Pressuring the Israeli military occupation forces to ensure conducting the elections in the Palestinian capital (Jerusalem) and not to create obstacles for citizens to exercise their right to run and vote, and the immediate release of Palestinian representatives detained in Israeli prisons.
  • Pressing all parties to ensure that Palestinian elections take place on the date specified in the presidential decree, in a way that renews national legitimacy and strengthens the process of democratic transformation in the country, and to ensure that no Palestinian is excluded from participating in these elections.
  • Pressuring the Palestinian presidency to immediately reverse the package of decisions by laws relating to the judiciary and work to strengthen its role as an independent authority, and the serious pursuit of forming an election court away from the current transformation of the executive authority.
  • Pressuring the Palestinian authorities in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to take serious action to create a suitable environment for holding the elections. Respect for the system of human rights and public freedoms, and avoid the approach of excluding any Palestinian who wishes to run under flimsy and illegal justifications.
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Policies and tracks required to hold accountability on the Israeli occupation and to support Palestinian rights.

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Date: 16 Jun 2022


Policies and tracks required to hold accountability on the Israeli occupation and to support Palestinian rights.

By Dr/ Salah  AbdAlati

In light of the serious conditions that passed out and still passing the Palestinian cause, and the continuing successive Israeli  governments in the policy of aggression and the imposition of a fait accompli by continuing the blockade, attacks on the Gaza Strip, targeting civilians, the demolition of homes and facilities, the confiscation of Palestinian land, the expanding constructions  process of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, especially in the Holy City of Jerusalem isolating , blocking and Judaize it along with the city of Bethlehem with settlements, Obliterating  landmarks, religious, historical, cultural features and  the Islamic –Christian Arabian identity, attempting to find a defect in the demographic composition, and the construction of the apartheid wall, torturing war prisoners.

Despite the fact that everything the occupation authorities do considered to be violations of human rights promoted  to the level of war crimes against humanity and contrary to the international humanitarian laws and rules, hitting the wall with the international legitimacy resolutions and the Human Rights and agreements – in light of all this, the United Nations are holding a historical responsibility towards the Palestinian people and their cause, as they  ratified the resolution 181, regarding the private division of the land of Palestine, which confirmed through dozens of resolutions of the various organs of the justice of the Palestinian people’s rights and legitimacy, thus, there is a responsibility lies on the United Nations toward the Palestinian people and their just cause, until finding a solution that ensures ending the Israeli occupation and enable the Palestinian people to get their Freedom and independence and the establishment of their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees according to Resolution 194 , In the time we express a strong condemnation and anger for the continuation of deficit and the paralysis of the international community to fulfill its legal and moral commitments which require the protection of civilians, and stop war crimes committed by the occupation forces during a bias and flagrant plot of international and Arab silence,In spite of the disruption of the power balance, we renew our determination to work to isolate, boycott and account the occupation for his crimes to provide protection for Palestinian civilians, and that requires us to hasten to join all international organizations and conventions, and  adopting a comprehensive national strategy working on the formation of a national body comprising senior official parties and human rights organizations, to mobilize wider Arab and international coalition to ensure the prosecution of the occupation leaders and forcing them to Pay for their crimes, to maintain  justice and rights of victims, and to prevent them of committing new ones.

The restoration of the role of the international organizations and authorities to be active in the Palestinian cause, require restoration of the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization with activating its institutions, and announcing the failure of Oslo, and taking actions to adopt the approach based on rights and law, which will be devoted to a new equation based on not allowing the susceptibility of the national rights to be swapped, It also sends clear messages to all parties; that any negotiations to make peace must be referenced to rights, international law and the values of justice, equality and freedom for all. This track requires the Palestinian leadership adoption to support the conditions for success.

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ICSPR issues a paper entitled: “The Denial of Justice in Palestine”

the International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR)

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Num: 113/ 2021

Date: 26/12/2021

 

Press release,

 

ICSPR issues a paper entitled: “The Denial of Justice in Palestine”

Occupied Palestine/Gaza: The legal and human rights department of the International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) issued today, Wednesday, a paper entitled: “The Denial of Justice in Palestine.”

 

The paper aims to clarify the nature of the executive authority’s violation of justice in Palestine, and its denial of implementing the provisions of the Palestinian judiciary, which makes the victims’ last resort unavailable, especially in the absence of official and unofficial oversight bodies, contrary to the text of Article (106) of the Palestinian Basic Law, which stipulates that That: “Judicial rulings shall be implemented. Refraining from or obstructing the implementation of a judicial ruling in any manner whatsoever shall be considered a crime carrying a penalty of imprisonment or dismissal from position if the accused individual is a public official or assigned to public service. The aggrieved party may file a case directly to the competent court and the National Authority shall guarantee a fair remedy for him.

The paper also seeks to open the doors for researchers and activists to contribute to the development of solutions that would overcome the policies of denial of justice, implement judicial rulings in a way that achieves societal stability, and determine the path that must be taken to hold the perpetrators of this crime accountable, in a way that enhances the principles of separation of powers, the rule of law and respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens guaranteed by the texts of national and international laws and charters.

The paper addressed the independence of the Palestinian judiciary, and the most prominent obstacles facing the implementation of the rulings of the Palestinian judiciary, which were represented in the structural reasons related to the political elite, the weakness of official and popular oversight on the principle of legality and the rule of law, and the state of internal division and the division of the judiciary’s reference.

 

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The repercussions of delaying the disbursement of social development allocations.

The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights

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The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights

ICSPR

 

 Position Paper on:

 

The repercussions of delaying the disbursement of social development allocations.

 

By/ Rami Mohsen

 

Oct 2021

 

 

 

 Introduction:

The Ministry of Social Affairs was established under the first ministerial formation in July 1994, where its work is regulated by the Jordanian Ministry of Social Affairs Law No. (14) of 1956, which is the ministry responsible for social issues in the State of Palestine, such as addressing poverty, organizing charitable societies, and sponsoring and supporting the poor, weak and marginalized groups, comprehensive development, social security, improvement of the living conditions of the population, relief those affected by disasters and other social issues in Palestine, including managing the social protection sector and coordinating efforts with partners, providing protection and care services for children, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities, and enhancing social cohesion by combating poverty, marginalization and social exclusion, and combating negative phenomena such as violence, homelessness, beggary and drug abuse[1].

According to the ministry’s website, it seeks to create a decent life in a cohesive Palestinian society by achieving sustainable human development through protection, care, prevention, empowerment and awareness programs, which are based on a rights-based approach, and in a manner that guarantees transparency and justice, in order to strengthen the resilience of citizens and maintain cohesion, solidarity and social protection[2].

In the context of achieving its goals, the Ministry of Social Development undertakes many services, including the cash transfer program, which aims to enhance the ability of beneficiary families to meet their basic needs, as it targets families that fall below the extreme poverty line, as well as marginalized families that fall between the national and extreme poverty lines, specifically, families that include people with disabilities, the elderly, orphans, people with chronic diseases, or families headed by females.

The aforementioned program – cash transfers – provides cash assistance to more than (115) thousand families, of which (74) thousand families are in the Gaza Strip and (41) thousand in the West Bank, at the rate of (4) financial payments annually, meaning one payment every (3 months) with a total of (134) million shekels for each payment, (536) million shekels annually. The Palestinian government’s contribution to each payment is estimated at more than (90) million shekels, while the European Union’s contribution to each payment is estimated at about (44) million shekels[3].

The share of the beneficiary families ranges between 750 to 1,800 shekels, according to the number of family members and their conditions, according to the social research process carried out by the Ministry of Social Development once every three months, but in light of facts and data, the disbursement process is often delayed under various pretexts, which increases the suffering of beneficiary families who are already living in tragic conditions.

The data indicate that the beneficiary families received the last cash payment on May 5, 2021, during which a unified amount of (750) shekels was disbursed to all families, while the previous payment was on December 24, 2020, contrary to the program’s philosophy that requires families to receive their cash allocations once every three months.

According to media statements by the Minister of Social Development, Ahmed Majdalani: until this moment, there is nothing new regarding the date of disbursing the allocations, explaining that the reason for the delay in disbursing the second payment is related to the financial crisis that the Palestinian government is suffering from, and that the European Union has not contributed since the beginning of this year[4].

In turn, the analyst and economic expert, “Osama Nofal”, expressed his astonishment at the government’s double-dealing with groups of the society, as when the salaries of employees in the public sector are delayed, it resorts to debt, but when it comes to social affairs allocations, it does nothing[5].

With regard to the administrative body for the defense of the rights of the beneficiaries of social affairs, it confirmed that the suffering of families has begun since 2017, due to the reduction of their entitlements from (4) to (3) payments annually, and in this year “2021”, only one unified payment was delivered of (750) shekels for all beneficiary families, and it called to regulate the disbursement of social affairs allocations on time[6].

Repercussions:

 

Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 25 also states: That: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family.

Article 22 of the Palestinian Basic Law and its amendments stipulate that: Social, health, disability and retirement insurance shall be regulated by law. Maintaining the welfare of families of martyrs, prisoners of war, the injured and the disabled is a duty that shall be regulated by law. The National Authority shall guarantee these persons education, health and social insurance. On the other hand, the accession of the State of Palestine to treaties and conventions gives it an international commitment to safeguarding the rights of its citizens, especially in the field of social and economic rights and protection from risks, in a manner that ensures an adequate standard of living.

The citizens’ enjoyment of the above-mentioned rights on the basis that they are guaranteed rights by the state would enhance the respect and dignity of the human, and develop a feeling of citizenship, especially since the link between the provision of a social security system based on securing an adequate standard of living and human rights in international conventions did not come from a vacuum. Respecting human beings and providing them with adequate aid when needed is a sincere expression of the state’s respect for the rights of its citizens.

The deduction and the delay in the disbursement of social affairs allocations to date, in light of the irrational justification of the concerned authorities, carries no explanation other than their disregard for the lives, dignity and feelings of the poor.

The deduction and the delay in the disbursement process have been accompanied by dangerous and catastrophic developments in the overall human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, which have caused a sharp deterioration in various aspects of life, especially in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from a suffocating and illegal Israeli siege for the fifteenth year in a row, the Israeli military aggression in May 2021 and the tightening of restrictions, and the widespread and systematic destruction of defenseless citizens’ private properties, public properties, vital facilities and the already fragile infrastructure.

The above challenges, in addition to the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the precautionary measures accompanying it have left undesirable repercussions on various sectors, foremost of which is the economic sector, which is expressed in the growth of indicators of poverty and unemployment, and the food insecurity that 2/3 of the population of Gaza strip suffer[7], and now depriving the poor and needy of their financial allocations, which exacerbated the severity of the crisis and its consequences for them, and for the society as well.

Providing “financial allocations to beneficiaries on a regular basis, especially in these tragic circumstances, will contribute to improving the living conditions of poor families, and will enhance their ability to meet their basic needs, especially since the irregular payment has limited their ability to provide for their needs, at a time when the costs of daily life doubled, especially after the opening of schools and the decision to go to face-to-face education”[8].

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that the delay under the current circumstances may be indicative of indifference to the fate and life of this segment, which deserves attention and protection as a legal obligation on the shoulders of the concerned authorities in the country, especially since the justification “the lack of enough money in the public treasury” refuted by the realities of the situation in light of the system of management of public money, marred by corruption and a decline in governance, transparency and participation. For example, senior positions continue to be assigned through promotion, appointment and extension, without the slightest respect for the principle of equal opportunities, these senior positions include ambassadors, non-ministerial institutions, assistant agents, assistant attorney generals, judges, governors[9], and general managers, in addition to petty cash and burdensome budgets at the expense of the poor, and without taking into account their minimum rights to a decent life.

 Recommendations:

  1. Demanding the Palestinian government to expedite the payment of cash allocations to poor families in a retroactive manner, and to ensure that they are paid periodically and regularly in a way that preserves their inherent human dignity.
  2. Calling on the Palestinian government to review and evaluate its existing policies in the field of facing poverty and destitution, including the introduction of productive and effective policies, instead of the current policies to achieve the desired social development.
  3. Work to strengthen social justice, based on providing a decent life for citizens in general, and for the poor and needy in particular, including distributing the burdens of occupation on all citizens of the Palestinian people under occupation.
  4. Reconsidering the structure of the general budget of the Palestinian Authority, and the distribution of allocations to the various sectors, including giving greater attention to the social sector.
  5. The necessity of providing an opportunity for a societal discussion about the public budget before its approval, and the government respecting its commitments to the partnership approach with civil society, especially since the largest resource for the public budget in Palestine is the citizen himself[10].
  6. The need to raise national voices against corruption, nepotism, waste and embezzlement of public money, and to strengthen governance, transparency, equal opportunities, citizenship and equality, which will positively affect the rights of the poor and fragile social classes.

 

[1] State of Palestine, Council of Ministers, https://cutt.us/sbw2y

[2] Ministry’s website, https://cutt.us/Sz7Kh

[3] State of Palestine, Ministry of Social Development, https://cutt.us/px82x

[4] Sabq 24 news, Majdalani speaking to “Sabq24” about disbursing social affairs allocations, August 5, 2021, https://cutt.us/HHLmK

[5] Palestine online,  calling the authority to borrow to disburse social affairs allocations, July 31, 2021, https://cutt.us/CouHS

[6] Amad Media, Gaza: demands for regular social welfare payments to be paid on time, September 4, 2021, https://cutt.us/d3tNC

[7] United Nations website, May 19, 2021, https://cutt.us/cXvAP

[8] Press release: Al Mezan Center calls for expediting the disbursement of cash assistance to poor families, and warns of the repercussions of delaying it on their living conditions, August 24, 2021, https://cutt.us/mkBFf

[9] The Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (Aman), Annual Report (13), “The Reality of Integrity and Anti-Corruption, Palestine 2020”, p. 31.

[10] The Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (Aman), Citizens Budget, 2017, p. 20.

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