The Civil Coalition for Promoting Civil Peace calls for strengthening the Rule of law against tribal interventions

In light of the recent events, the Civil Coalition for Promoting Civil Peace and Strengthening the Rule of Law held a round table session to discuss the repercussions of crime rise in Palestine in cooperation with official, civil and security institutions at REFORM’s office.

Dr. Omar Rahal, member of the Civil Coalition and Director General of SHAMS Center, opened the session by reviewing crime rates in Palestine which amounted to 22 cases during the current year. Afterwards, participants identified reasons behind the rapid rise in crime during the last two months.

Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Ashraf Ereikat, pointed out that the legal organization in the Palestinian territories has never been subject to amendment and does not take into account the Palestinian context nor does it comply with the requirements of the current stage. He also added that Palestinian legislation needs to be developed, as it is unjust and irresponsive to the needs of social groups, stressing the need to develop preventive laws and measures to be applied in all fields. Mr. Ereikat also said that the weakness and inefficiency of legislations has led several conflicting parties to resort to informal forces to provide them with solutions to their problems in instead of seeking help from official bodies. Therefore, it is noted that there is high proportion of Palestinians, who perceive the so-called “Tribal Judiciary” as an alternative to the law.

The participants agreed on the existence of deeply ingrained flaws within the value system, which regulates the relationship between various components of society. They also reflected on the main reasons that contributed to the collapse of the value system, as those related to the inability of social groups to overcome the cultural heritage by adhering to some outdated customs and traditions in remote areas, and setting the roles for each community component, which was reflected in rejecting any developmental interventions, promoting the culture of intolerance, and harming the social fabric.

The participants also urged the Palestinian police to activate investigation processes to hold perpetrators of crimes accountable, and to enhance the complementarity between the Police and the Public Prosecution to facilitate the process of investigating and resolving criminal cases. In fact, the emergence of a large number of complaints and cases constantly, along with the lack of the justice sector’s capacity for providing an appropriate number of personnel to resolve these cases, leads to accumulating them for long periods of time.

With regards to the limitation of legal jurisdiction, The General Director of ACT Center, Mr. Mohamed Hadia, presented a number of solutions that could be developed to expand the legal jurisdiction in various Palestinian areas. For instance, Areas A and B are managed directly by security forces while taking into account the context for each area, whereas the legal jurisdiction can be extended in Area C and East Jerusalem through the establishment of community police units as well as local and provincial committees to facilitate the functioning of security forces and to strengthen the rule of law in those areas.

Afterwards, participants developed strategic interventions and operational measures to reduce the spread of crime and achieve civil peace. In doing so, they recommended reviewing the legislations and addressing the flaws contained therein, as well as enhancing the complementarity between the Police, the Public Prosecution, the Judicial system and civil society institutions to strengthen the rule of law and promote civil peace. Moreover, participants called for strengthening national dialogue to achieve civil peace, promote the role of media agencies in raising the public awareness and holding stakeholders accountable, and reduce any media visions that instigate hatred. Last, participants urged for expanding the legal jurisdiction through institutionalizing local police committees, enhancing the role of social and religious institutions, and unifying religious and social discourse to achieve civil peace.

The Coalition seeks to enhance social harmony and to create a supportive environment to bridge the gaps amongst various components of society, promoting dialogue as a means to support a collective identity, civil harmony and the enforcement of law. To achieve this, the Coalition is working in partnership with official state bodies and various civil institutions to ensure the promotion of pluralism and equality within Palestinian society.