Conflicts in Middle East The delay of the Palestinian Legislative Council

The delay of the Palestinian Legislative Council

Abdulsattar Al-Qassem

The media affiliated with the inept Palestinian Authority have denied interfering with the electoral process and law on the day that the foundations of Fatah’s so-called revolutionary law came under review.

A news reporter on Palestine TV, who is a member of the Ayyad family in Bethlehem denied the allegations on behalf of Fatah and said that the writer of this article, Abdulsattar Al-Qassem, is calling for the death of the Palestinian Authority. She acted with bias and foolishness and so did the sheikh and the professor who appointed themselves her supporters.

And now, it is your job to deny the truth yet again because the delays that are deliberately taking place in the Palestinian Legislative Council are no less than a crime according to international law and it is up to the Palestinian people to hold those responsible for the delays to account. They must also try those who have gone against Palestinian law and its standards.

According to my convictions, the Palestinian Legislative Council that was appointed in 2006 is no longer legally constitutional because its time in office has come to an end. However, if there is still anyone who believes that the president of the PA is still within his tenure then they must also look to all the wrongdoings that have taken place on account of the PLC. I believe that the lack of legal constitutionality of Palestinian institutions is what is leading us towards chaos and decay. This in turn makes us unable to combat our challenges, including the occupation.

We must ask: Is there a state or a political or community or authority in the world that deliberately disrupts the Legislative Council and has its powers seized by the executive branch? Legislative power is the primary power in the state and respect for it is also an expression of respect for the country itself and its people; the public who went to the polls to choose their representatives.

Legislative power in itself is fine-tuned and sensitive to the needs of the people and is designed to prevent chaos. It is further enhanced by the judicial branch, which is not meant to bow down to external pressure from an outside source.

In 2006, the Palestinian people elected their executive branch and Hamas won the majority of the vote. The Legislative Council held a few sessions and they were prevented from carrying out their tenure after Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip. What has taken place in Gaza is a political conflict between Fatah and Hamas and not a civil conflict between the Palestinian people themselves because of the results from the ballot box. It is neither fair nor possible then, that the consequences manifest themselves on the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian people are not convinced that the disagreement between the two sides is beneficial for the people as a whole. On the contrary, the people believe that they are in better standing when there is more understanding for the common good. The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has delayed the progress and suspended the actions of the PLC. It has prevented the representatives within the council from sitting in their parliamentary seats and they have prevented representatives from Gaza from carrying out their legislative duties. All new laws have been implemented with the exclusive approval of the president of the Palestinian Authority.

This is a significant breach of the will of the people and their interests, which is not only devastating but leads to political and social chaos. The Palestinian people must take action against this situation and work towards achieving Palestinian national unity. The executive branch is responsible for the feeling of resentment that is currently being experienced by the people.

The people are currently afraid of the tyrannical reality of the Palestinian Authority and they are afraid to admit that their representative authority is unlike any other in the world. The prime minister of the PA recently hailed the democratic nature of the PA and not only explained to us how to be democratic but tried to convince us that there is a benefit from deliberately delaying or disabling the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The Israeli government delayed the progress of the PLC when it arrested many of its members; however, one must note that the Israelis benefit from such an outcome because they consider Hamas a terrorist organisation. As is to be expected, Israel continues to claim that its actions are democratic and its imperialist western allies, of course, encouraged this behaviour.

Since the Israeli government stood against the PLC, it was our national duty - all of us - to stand with it and to make the process easier in order to fully confront the occupation. Yet, when we all complied with delaying the council, it appeared to the world as if the PA and the occupation are equally dividing roles among us. This type of impression has worked horribly and harmed the image of the Palestinian people who should be working to resist the Israeli occupation. Who benefits from delaying the Legislative Council? If only the president of the PA would do us the honour of lecturing us on how these delays are democratic and how we, the Palestinian people, are benefitting from such actions.

We know that the Legislative Council in most Arab countries is not in fact legislative and that it is merely a puppet in the hands of the executive branch and we also know that it is also quite easy for the council’s support to be bought in order to benefit the corrupt nature of Arab regimes. We also know that the king or the president is capable of dissolving the council in order to play a counterfeit political game. Yet, these nations do not support us and they should not be our examples in political life.

The Palestinians have excelled in becoming a leading example in Arab tyranny because they have suspended the actions of the Legislative Council. Some Arab regimes were embarrassed by their decision to dissolve their legislative councils but the PA was not embarrassed of stomping on the will of the already oppressed Palestinian people with their boots.

In short, the dissolution of the PLC is a big crime against the Palestinian people and the people responsible for this disruption must be held accountable and brought to trial. Such actions constitute a great betrayal to the political will of the people. Members of the PLC must begin to point fingers, they must blame those responsible and they must speak out. The punishment is coming, God willing, and the matter will be resolved.

Translated from Al-Resalah, 14 March 2016.