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Tribal law keeps imperfect order in Gaza

Traditional methods of conflict resolution continue to dominate the Gaza Strip in an effective but potentially inconsistent traditional system.
Palestinian Bedouins sit in a tent around woodfire to warm up in a Bedouin area south of Gaza City on January 7, 2015 as a major storm dumped heavy rain, high winds and snowfall on parts of the Middle East. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD HAMS        (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

Tribal arbitration for the settlement of community problems and crimes before elderly members and dignitaries has long been the norm in Palestine, both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. But over the past decade, more Palestinians have been turning to the traditional process, which is not without its drawbacks.

On March 18, an 18-year-old man allegedly raped a 5-year-old girl in the Sabra neighborhood in central Gaza. Tribal arbitrators met with family members of the accused, and, among other conditions, the arbitrators and the parents of the victim called called for banishing the man's entire family from the neighborhood.

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