This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Palestinian Authority Dysfunction

"Where else in the world would a parliamentarian, doing her job, calling out corruption, become a prisoner, while the corrupt walk free? This is a place that should be full of dialogue, people, justice, not a place of detention for a parliamentarian."
"I used to be the daughter of Fatah. Now I say I am a daughter of Palestine."
"The arrest warrant that was issued by the attorney general and the security forces’ attempt to arrest me February 25 were [the reasons for] my sit-in in the PLC. Throughout this period, the arrest warrant was in the hands of security forces surrounding the PLC. I staged the sit-in inside the PLC building because I am convinced that it is the Palestinian people's house, and I will protect it and protect the basic law that does not allow that an MP who criticized any minister or official be arrested. This is because the MP’s key task is to oversee the government. Unfortunately, things are reversed and the law is not being invoked. The decision-making process is monopolized, the executive branch is predominant over the law and legislative branch, and the policy to muzzle voices prevails."
Najat Abu Baker, Fatah lawmaker, Ramallah
Palestinian MP Najat Abu Bakr has ended her sit-in in the Palestinian Legislative Council, where she protested charges leveled against her for making corruption allegations, April 2, 2015. (photo by Facebook.com/Najat.abubakr)

The Palestinian Parliament building of the Palestinian Authority in the capital Ramallah is an abandoned place of governance for all intents and purposes. And it is where a lawmaker from the Fatah faction took haven for 17 days in an effort to avoid arrest that was imminent, by her own government, an arrest warrant that resulted from her activism and protest against cronyism and corruption, rampant in the Authority.

Which itself hasn't the democratic authority to rule in the West Bank, since the current government has long overstayed its welcome; its authorized democratic rule has long since lapsed, and no new elections have been called, the result of which is that the current administration is effectively illegal. Which doesn't seem to trouble them at all. There is in effect, at any rate, a dual government; a secular-type one installed in the West Bank, the other a theocratic one headed by Hamas in Gaza.

The irascible distrust and dislike verging on virulent hatred leading to violence between them is legendary. The differences between them minimal; one is outwardly and publicly hostile to the point of never-ending attempts at slaughter, to the presence of the State of Israel, the other is more discreet in what it proclaims to the wider world, while echoing what Hamas says and does internally. Both acknowledge a map of Palestine that miraculously sheds the presence of Israel.

Fatah prosecutors in the West Bank had summoned Ms. Abu-Baker in the strength of accusations she was guilty of insulting PA President Mahmoud Abbas. In response she took refuge in the parliament building where the 132-member legislature is supposed to meet regularly to administer the affairs of the West Bank. A unfinished building in Abu Dis, just outside Jerusalem imagined as the capital of a future independent Palestinian State is meant to represent a new parliament building.

When an agreement was reached on March tenth between Ms. Abu-Baker and prosecutors that she could avoid arrest by leaving the parliament building, she was free to go but remained defiant in her criticism of the Authority. She represented, in fact, the fourth legislator who decided to seek harbour in a 'protected space', with the assurance that security forces would not enter. Fatah official Bassam Zakarneh also spent a week on the grounds in a solidarity tent to protest a government decree outlawing his union.

Khalida Jarrar, a leftist lawmaker, hid herself within the building for a month in the summer after an order limiting her movement was issued by the Israeli government. She was later convicted of incitement to violence, and of being a member of an illegal organization, and finally sentenced to 14 months in prison. And then there was Ibrahim Khreisheh who insulted the Palestinian Prime Minister so an arrest warrant was issued, resulting in his installing himself in the office suite of the former speaker of the house.

Ms. Abu-Baker spoke to striking Palestinian teachers, informing them that there would be funding available to pay them properly if ministers were not as corrupt as they were; recommending the resignation of Mr. Abbas at the same time. According to one employee, 400 people continued to collect salaries for jobs at the legislature across the West Bank and Gaza, with 120 deployed in the Ramallah building where there was obviously nothing to do since the parliament simply doesn't sit.

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