Palestine president establishes controversial constitutional court

Palestine president establishes controversial constitutional court

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has established a new constitutional court that will be inaugurated Monday with the swearing in of the last justice. The court, which will hold supremacy over all others, was quietly created by presidential decree, but those that oppose the creation point out that Abbas stacked the court in his favor by appointing justices [Reuters report] from his own political party. The Fatah Party [Britannica backgrounder] supported the president’s power to establish this court and stated that none of the party’s officials possesses a hidden agenda. However, with the court being perceived as one-sided, as all members are either Fatah members or affiliated with Fata, it will inevitably contribute to the widening split between the Fatah and Hamas [Britannica backgrounder], the opposing political party.

The Palestinian government has been criticized in the last year for the misuse of public funds after documents were leaked, as well as for detaining West Bank students seemingly in an effort to silence political dissent [JURIST reports]. However, internal controversy is not the only issue at hand for Palestine. Many issues are spurred by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder]. At the end of March the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website], Rupert Colville, said [statement] that his office was concerned about the apparent extra-judicial execution [JURIST report] of a Palestinian man in the West Bank. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements. In August UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] urged both sides of the conflict to reconcile and move towards peace [JURIST report] after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while the family slept. In April 2015 HRW alleged [HRW report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank are using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws. Last January Germany’s top human rights official urged Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] probe into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories. After a prosecutor for the ICC announced the investigation [JURIST report], Israel’s government said that it would not work with the ICC and called for its funding to be cut.