Given this background, it was heartening to learn that during July hundreds of Palestinian lawyers marched in Ramallah to protest against the practice of establishing laws by decree by the Palestinian Authority. The lawyers’ central demand was the cancellation of 400 decisions they say have been taken illegally by the 87-year-old Abbas in the absence of a Palestinian parliament.
The Palestinian elected law-making body for the West Bank and Gaza, the Legislative Council, has been inactive since 2007. The council’s sessions were suspended following the Palestinian political division between Fatah and Hamas. Since then, the law-making process in Palestine has been by presidential decree, often after suggestions from the government.
Palestinians were scheduled to elect a new legislative council in May 2021 but elections were called off and “postponed” by the Palestinian president one month before the due date.
Following the recent 3 day Gaza conflict, Senior Fellow Danielle Pletka made these comments on the state of play for Palestinians:
‘The fate of “Palestine” is in the hands of the most extreme elements in Palestinian politics. Fatah, the party of Palestinian president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas, has hewn the middle road—some terrorism, some extremism, some corruption, some cooperation with Israel, lots of grandstanding, not much governance. Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, has been hard put to govern; its popularity has shrunk as the group has failed to deliver any tangible improvements. Hamas blames the Jews; Hamas’ subjects are quietly unsure whether the Jews are to blame, or just Hamas. They don’t dare say so. Terrorism is what Hamas is good at, but it has been outbid by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. PIJ has been behind a continual stream of killings in recent years, and its sponsors in Iran have been pleased. As a result, the Israeli government decided to take out PIJ’s top two leaders. Short war, several dozen deaths in Gaza, end of war.’
Given this dire outlook, it is heartening to see Palestinians rising up against the corruption of their leaders. We would hope that the Palestinians’ Western supporters would wise up and realise that the Israel blame game is not going to achieve peace, prosperity or justice for Palestinians. Only when Palestinian leaders have sufficient incentive to change their corrupt self-serving ways will there be hope of a better future. We stand with all those brave Palestinians who are fighting for a better future for their children.
Dr Sheree Trotter