Rule of Law
Why is rule of law important?
The rule of law is critically important for economic development in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the national aspirations of the Palestinians for independence and full statehood. Rule of law, in practice, is determined by the effectiveness of both the judicial and security sectors. In order to consolidate and accelerate its path to statehood, the Palestinian Authority (PA) must effectively demonstrate that it can provide security for Palestinians, protect private property, maintain public order, administer court cases and meet its international obligations. It must provide a system of governance that enjoys broad domestic support and underpins Palestinian economic development.
How does the OQR support rule of law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip?
The OQR works with a range of Palestinian and Israeli institutions and donor countries to help the Palestinian Authority strengthen its rule of law capacity. The work focuses on two key areas: (i) expanding the legal and security footprint of the Palestinian Authority; and (ii) strengthening Palestinian rule of law institutions.
- Expanding the legal and security footprint of the Palestinian Authority - The OQR supports the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to expand the scope of its legal and security footprint in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority’s current authority is limited to certain parts of the West Bank and even within this area, that authority is circumscribed. Major challenges in this area include continued Israeli incursions into Area A, and the need for Israeli approval of PA operations beyond Area A (for force deployment, public order operations, crime scene investigations), infrastructure development (police and civil defense stations) and the procurement of equipment. The OQR works to overcome these challenges by lobbying the Government of Israel to reduce military incursions into Area A, to allow for the expansion of PA legal and security infrastructure into Area B and to grant greater access to the PA security and legal authorities to use transportation networks in Area C.
- Strengthening Palestinian rule of law institutions - The OQR works to assist the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to develop its key rule of law institutions namely the Ministry of Justice, the High Judicial Council, the Ministry of Interior, the Office of the General Prosecutor, the Civil Police and the National Security Forces. This work agenda covers the definition of roles and responsibilities between these institutions (and how they coordinate with the Israeli authorities) and capacity building across the sector including the strengthening of the constitutional court system, the system of military justice and judicial police operations to support the Palestinian judicial sector.
OQR achievements and activities to support the rule of law
- In coordination with other key stakeholders (including the United States Security Coordinator) OQR lobbied for the easing of security controls in the northern part of the West Bank during the period 2007-2008.
- OQR successfully secured Israeli Government approval for the issuance of movement and access permits for almost all Palestinian judges working in the West Bank (to facilitate their ease of movement).
- Obtained Israeli approval for the establishment of new Palestinian police stations in Area B.