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How independent are Palestinian courts?

The decision of the Palestinian High Court of Justice to postpone the local elections raised a debate among Palestinians, with some accusing the judiciary branch of being manipulated by the executive one.
Palestinians walk at the headquarters of the High Court in the West Bank city of Ramallah September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman   - RTX2ON41
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When the Palestinian High Court of Justice decided Sept. 7 to suspend the Oct. 8 municipal elections, it caught many people off guard. The Palestinian legislature has been paralyzed since 2007 because of the split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and few expected any independent action of the Palestinian judiciary. Many asked the simple question: Was this a truly independent decision of the court or was it acting on behalf of the executive branch?

Ali Ghazlan, the presiding judge of the high court, argued that elections can't take place in one place and not the other. “The election can't take place in Jerusalem and its neighborhoods. Also, there are problems with the formation of courts in Gaza. … Therefore the court decides to stop the election,” the high court judge ruled.

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