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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Official Palestinian Wafa news agency reports:

Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Tuesday described the 18 months jail sentence a court had earlier issued against an Israeli soldier who shot and killed a wounded and incapacitated Palestinian as a travesty.
“This is a travesty of justice,” said Ashrawi in a press release. “It is apparent that the Israeli judicial system has become compromised with the systemic racism, injustice and the culture of hate that is plaguing the Israeli occupation.”
Really? Ashrawi is casting aspersions on the Israeli justice system?

I was going to see if I could find any cases of Palestinian courts sentencing any Palestinian ever for attacking Jews, but then I realized - in over a decade of following Palestinian media, I can hardly remember a big court case in the Palestinian Authority.

Ever.

Hamas sometimes sentences people to death, but what does the Palestinian Authority court system do?

I went through Ma'an's English articles over the past year, and while there are dozens of articles about the Israeli justice system, I could only find a single mention of "Palestinian court" - in April 2016:

 A Palestinian court on Tuesday found a 37-year-old Palestinian man guilty of murdering his wife in 2006 in Ramallah district and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor.
In the years since the killing, the suspect was held in detention while the Palestinian public prosecution carried out investigations, eventually leading to his conviction 10 years later.
 The term "Palestinian appeals court" also came up with exactly one case, in December, also for murders or women that occurred ten years prior:
A Palestinian appeals court in Ramallah on Monday sentenced a man to a lifetime of hard labor after he was found guilty of killing his two sisters in 2006 in Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank, local sources told Ma'an Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.
The man had confessed to the murders, saying in his defense that his sisters "dishonored the family reputation."
The "High Court" suspended elections that were planned in a case that was almost certainly decided by the PA itself, not the court.

Finally, Haaretz reported on a fourth court case that was also rubber-stamping the desires of Mahmoud Abbas:
 A Palestinian court sentenced on Wednesday Palestinian lawmaker Mohammed Dahlan to three years in prison after convicting him in absentia of stealing $16 million.
Dahlan left the West Bank for the United Arab Emirate in 2011 following a power struggle with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 
I haven't found any other cases in the media, in English or Arabic.

From everything I can tell, the Palestinian justice system does next to nothing. The police hold people in custody for years (and torture them) without them going to trial. On the rare occasions when Abbas does need to the court to put a legal cover for his edicts, the courts are happy to do so.

It is a complete joke.

They have courts. They have judges. They open up new facilities. But unless every trial is done in secret, they hardly have any cases.

If you think about it, this utter lack of a functional justice system reveals a lot about the Palestinian Authority.

This dysfunctional and irrelevant system, 20 years after autonomy, shows that the Palestinian authority has no interest in real state building. A working justice system is an essential component of any legitimate state. The Palestinian Justice Ministry is, from everything we can see, a corrupt and do-nothing gravy train for political cronies. .

Maybe Hanan Ashrawi shouldn't talk too much about the Israeli court system, because if anyone really took a look at the Palestinian justice system - if there are any real reporters left in the region, that is - she might not like what is discovered.



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