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Hamas-Fatah divide cripples Palestine’s judiciary

Efforts to reach a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah have failed, and the dichotomy separating judiciaries in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is growing.
Newly appointed Palestinian judge Khouloud Al-Faqih (R) looks at documents in her office in the West Bank city of Ramallah February 23, 2009. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered last week the appointment of the first two female judges in the Palestinian Authority, one of them Al-Faqih. Picture taken February 23, 2009.
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Since Hamas’ takeover in 2007, the Gaza Strip has been governed pursuant to a legal and legislative system completely separate from that of the West Bank. The reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas in April 2014 and the subsequent formation of the Rami Hamdallah-led Palestinian unity government formed in June 2014 failed to unify the legal and legislative systems of Gaza and the West Bank, where new laws continue to be separately and independently drafted.

After its takeover of the Gaza Strip — which caused a significant disruption in the work of the Gaza judiciary and courts — Hamas established in 2007 a Supreme Judicial Council and a Public Prosecutor’s Office, and appointed a special prosecutor, Ismail Jaber, who was replaced two years later, completely separating them from their counterparts in the West Bank.

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