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The Health Rights of Gaza Patients and Patient Transfers

On Thursday, 21 April 2022, the Institute of Law (IoL) held a legal encounter on The Health Rights of Gaza Patients and Patient Transfers. Bringing together members of the legal community, academics, and interested persons, the presentation was made by Mr. Ala’ as-Skafi, Director of the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, and Dr. Osama Bal’awi, a health consultant.

In her opening statement, Ms. Lina al-Tounisi, Coordinator of the IoL Gaza Office, welcomed the speakers and audience and made a briefing note about the Birzeit Legal Encounters Programme. As-Skafi explained the definition of the concept of health in International Humanitarian Law and right to health under Palestinian laws. The Palestinian Basic Law does not address the right to health directly. Instead, Article 10 of the Basic Law provides for compliance with fundamental human rights and freedoms. Accordingly, the Palestinian Authority will work without delay to accede to international conventions and declarations, which provide protection to human rights. As-Skafi demonstrated that the Palestinian Public Health Law No. 20 of 2004 assigns a set of tasks to the Ministry of Health (MoH), particularly maternal and child care, control of diseases and pandemics, quarantine, hospital, and clinic services. However, the law does not address important aspects, including the provision of health insurance and issues relating to the older population and people with disabilities.

As-Skafi elaborated on the 2000 General Comment No. 14 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The interpretation of the right to health comprises interrelated and essential elements, namely, availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of health care services. Finally, As-Skafi stressed the continuing complexities and obstacles, which face patients, constitute a violation of the right to health, run counter to the principle of progressive realisation of the right to health under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and contradict the Palestinian National Health Strategy 2017-2022.

In his presentation, Bal’awi addressed the concept of specialised treatment and department of service purchase (treatment outside MoH facilities). The MoH is committed to working jointly with all partners to scale up and improve performance, and ensure professional management, of the health sector. The Palestinian government has put in place the patient transfer system to make up for shortfalls at governmental health facilities as well as the lack of medical experience, devices, and equipment, including specialties of the medical profession and ability of medical facilities to accommodate patients. This way, gaps are bridged by the purchase of medical services from local health providers outside the MoH, including private, civil society, or charitable health institutions. Also, medical services can be purchased from other countries in case they are unavailable at local health centres.

Simple cases are transferred to local hospitals in the Gaza Strip as well as to national hospital, which require that patients cross the Beit Hanun (Erez) crossing point. These include the An-Najah hospital in Nablus and Al-Makassed and Augusta Victoria hospitals in Jerusalem. Patients whose treatment is not available in the Gaza Strip are transferred to hospitals inside the Green Line, including the Hadassah Ein Karem, Tel HaShomer hospitals, etc. Bal’awi made an overview of the total number of annual patient transfers. In 2019, patient transfers totalled 104,881. Representing a decrease of 23.7 percent, 80,020 patients were transferred to health centres outside MoH facilities in 2020.

Bal’awi indicated that the period required for the approval of a patient transfer application ranges from two to three weeks. In the meantime, an appointment is made, taking into account the availability of medical services or procedures. The cost of patient transfers is mostly covered by 100 percent. On the other hand, patients contribute 5 percent to the cost of other services. Patients and their families cover indirect costs, including companions, transportation, and accommodation.

Many interventions and recommendations were made in ensuing discussion. Most notably, an integrated set of health services needs to be provided, including medical specialties for which patient transfers are needed most, such as cancer, heart surgery, and cardiac catheterisation, at MoH or private hospitals. The Palestinian health system will be improved and capacity building provided to medical institutions. Qualified medical staff will be recruited to train physicians in the Gaza Strip. Medical teams will be dispatched on external missions for rehabilitation and then return to work at local hospitals.

Legal Framework for Regulating the Energy sector in Gaza

The Institute of Law (IOL) holds a legal encounter in Gaza on

“Legal Framework for Regulating the Energy sector in Gaza”

Gaza – On Tuesday 20th of October 2020, the Institute of Law (IoL) of Birzeit University organised a legal encounter on “Legal Framework for Regulating the Energy sector in Gaza” It was held in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Palestinian Territories. The lawyer, Mr. Bakr Al-Turkmani from the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) and Mrs. Hala Al-Zibdah, Assistant for Vice President of the Energy Authority (Penra), had spoken at the legal encounter.

Mr. Bakr Al-Turkmani began his speech by indicating to the present electricity crisis that the Palestinian citizen suffers from in Gaza Strip. He pointed out that there were multiple causes for this crisis.  The crisis led to the presence of a private sector supplying electricity in Gaza Strip through generators for nearly five years. It was enlarged by the decisions of the official authorities in Gaza Strip regarding regulating the sector through licenses and fixed price of a kilo of electricity; And the legal procedures that were taken against generators’ owners, as a result of their rejection of these decisions. Whereas, on 9/15/2020 the Energy Authority announced a new price per kilo, which is 2.5 NIS. The Energy Authority had defended its decision regarding the pricing stating that it was based on in-depth and specialized studies. Whereas, the owners of generators believe that this price is unfair to them and it is not  agreed upon by the generators’ owners, and causes a heavy loss to them. The owners of the generators were forced to sign pledges not to stop their generators and to abide by the pricing starting from 1/10/2020, otherwise they will be subject to legal accountability.

He proceeded to talk about the legislative framework regulating electric power in Gaza Strip, as he reviewed the laws in force in Gaza Strip. He pointed out that the Law No. (12) of 1995 regarding the establishment of the Palestinian Energy Authority, remains the basic legislation governing for the energy sector in Gaza, Also, the agreement concluded between the Energy Authority and the Power Plant, which is a private company, in 2003. The most recent is the decision issued by the Committee for Monitoring Governmental work, regarding granting powers to the head of the Energy Authority to regulate the generators sector, and the decision issued by the Vice President of the Energy Authority in Gaza regarding determining the electricity price for generators and the necessity of licensing.

Al-Turkmani also discussed the agreement between the Energy Authority and the Contractors Union, to implement a project to generate an electricity from the commercial electrical generators in Gaza. He pointed out the danger of this type of project, and that we are heading towards privatizing all the electricity sector, starting from the power station, the private generators, and also solar energy projects. All of them tend to exhaust the citizen economically, where it was more appropriate for the government agencies and the Energy Authority to supervise the electricity sector, which indicates to a dangerous sign  for the withdrawal of the Energy Authority from its role in providing electricity, especially at the strategic level, so that the private sector becomes the main controller over the electricity in an advanced stage.

 Then Mrs. Hala Al Zebdah began her speech, noting that the reason of the disruption of major projects related to energy sector in Gaza Strip is the occupation. She indicated that the Energy Authority has many strategic plans that are constantly being developed, in order to cover the existing deficit, by expanding the presence of large generating units for electricity in specific areas; in addition to obtaining the fuel at a lower price, which is gas. She indicated that the two projects are exciting and being monitored.

 She also talked about the decision taken on 9/15/2020 regarding determining the electricity price for generators, and the dispute between the owners of generators and the Energy Authority carried out several studies to determine the price and issued the appropriate pricing. Mrs. Al-Zebdah added that there are solar energy projects of the Energy Authority which are under implementation for the next five years, and will be directed to schools, clinics and institutions.


At the end of the meeting, the discussion was opened, which included many interventions and recommendations. The most important is the need to increase the responsibility of the Energy Authority to provide the electricity to citizens in a low price, and the initiatives to implement public projects, which are directed to citizens, so that the electricity sector will not be fully privatized in the near future.

Labor Rights in the private sector (in Gaza Strip) in light of the ministry of labor’s decision during the State of Emergency

“Labor Rights in the private sector (in Gaza Strip) in light of the ministry of labor’s decision during the State of Emergency”

 Gaza – Tuesday 30 June 2020, The Institute of Law at Birzeit University, with support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stifitung, has organized a legal encounter entitled “Labor Rights in the private sector (in Gaza Strip) in light of the ministry of labor’s decision during the State of Emergency”. The encounter took place via zoom. The main speaker was Mr. Abdullah Sharsharah, and a number of jurists have participated to the encounter.


Mr. Sharsharah exposed the reality of workers’ rights; he mentioned that 57% (59% in the West Bank and 51% in Gaza Strip) of the workers in Palestine work in unorganized sectors, also called informal employment such as domestic workers. These employees are deprived from many of their basics rights such as their entitlement to indemnities, retirement, paid leave, and medical leave.   


The private sector – and accordingly the workers – has extremely suffered from the Covid-19 pandemics and the sanitary confinement. Many enterprises and shops were forced to close and decided to terminate the contracts of many of their employees. The ministerial joint committee took several decisions since March 2020 which directly affected those employees; such as the closing of wedding halls, restaurants and coffee shops, popular markets, mosques… etc. other measures fallowed which included the closing of all educational institutions. The education sector (especially Kindergarten) was one of the main sectors affected by those decisions, followed by tourism, and services (mainly transportation, communication, and stores), those working in the construction industry also suffered a lot.


Mr. Sharsharah explained the interpretations of Article 38 of the Palestinian labor code, especially that the Palestinian case law does not include the applicability of such an article in a situation of pandemic, accordingly the door was open for several interpretations. One side saw that the termination of contracts under the current crisis should not be allowed and the decision of the lockdown differs from the administrative decision or judicial decision referred to in article 38, accordingly the labor contract shouldn’t be terminated, and if it is terminated the act of terminating the labor contract should be deemed arbitrary and illegal. Others argued that the state of emergency rendered the execution of the contract impossible.


Mr. Sahrsharah also spoked about International Human Rights Law; explaining that the International Human Rights Law guarantees the right of every individual to receive the highest level of health, and oblige states to take measures to prevent any threat to public health, and to provide medical care for those who needs it. Mr. Sahrsharah also said that International Human Rights Law allowed the restriction of some human rights during a situation of emergency, such as a public health crisis, if such restriction is deemed necessary according to scientific proof, for a limited period, while respecting human dignity, and only if those restrictions were proportionate with the severeness of the threat. In such a case, the restriction cannot be considered arbitrary or discriminatory.


In the end, the door was open for the participants to discuss the issue, ask questions, and make comments and recommendations.  



Legal Problems of Penal Reconciliation in Gaza Strip

The Institute of Law (IOL) organizes a legal encounter in Gaza on

Legal Problems of Penal Reconciliation in Gaza Strip”


Gaza – On Tuesday 17th of November 2020, the Institute of Law (IoL) at Birzeit University organised an online legal encounter via Zoom Platform on “Legal Problems of Penal Reconciliation in Gaza Strip“, which was held in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Palestinian Territories. During this encounter Dr. Sami Ghonaim and Dr. Saher Al Waleed, professors in the College of Law at Al Azhar University, took part in the presentation, as a number of law students from the aforementioned College, jurists and interested individuals also participated. 

The encounter was firstly introduced by Lina Al Tunisi, coordinator of the Institute's work in Gaza, whom welcomed the attendees and presented a brief description of the Birzeit Legal Encounters Programme.

Subsequently, Dr. Sami Ghonaim had begun his speech by clarifying the concept of Penal Reconciliation and its theoretical contour, which is considered to be an embodiment of the concept of alternatives to the criminal case procedures that emerged of the traditional criminal justice system crisis, as Penal Reconciliation also aims to achieve a balance between social interests and the punishment of the perpetrator, which represents a special deterrent to the criminal and the application of the idea of general deterrence to those addressing the provisions of the law.

Dr. Ghonaim reviewed the legal aspect of the Penal Reconciliation, as he indicated that countries tend to administer criminal justice through alternatives to the criminal case, which began to make its way in the legal systems, alongside the public lawsuit. Dr. Ghoneim also added that the legislator’s regulation for the Penal Reconciliation in Gaza Strip included many legal difficulties which led to the demand for its amendment, even by its supporters and those who implement it, as many criminals had return to committing crimes, sometimes more serious crimes, which demonstrates the failure of the concept of the perpetrator’s deterrence. Moreover, the rate of crimes in general is on increase, which calls into question the utility of the concept of general deterrence. Besides, the increase in legislative intervention to criminalize new acts, had led to an increase in the number of convicts, and thus an increase in the number of prisoners, which ultimately leads to overcrowding in prisons, and an increase in the financial burden on the state’s shoulders.

In his part, Dr. Saher Al Waleed revised the procedures followed in the enforcement of the Penal Reconciliation Law’s in Gaza Strip, where he explained the concepts of reconciliation and conciliation and the difference between them, and their role in the termination of a lawsuit, in addition to the society’s need for them. In addition, Dr. Al Waleed revised the concept of reconciliation in the Palestinian Criminal Procedures Law, specifically articles 16, 17 and 18, indicating that its impractical as the legislator imposed this concept for violations in general, and misdemeanours punishable with fines, excluding misdemeanours punishable by imprisonment; which is considered impractical as the society desperately needs an expansion in the circle of reconciliation. Meanwhile, the Penal Reconciliation Law of 2017, which is applied in Gaza Strip, has expanded the scope of reconciliation, which includes misdemeanours punishable by imprisonment for no longer than 6 months.


Dr. Al Waleed also addressed the criminal justice crisis between the public lawsuit and its alternatives, as he indicated that the legislator in the Penal Reconciliation Law for 2017 has made a distinction between accepting the reconciliation before the stage of filing the lawsuit and going to trial, and the stage after filing it. Dr. Al Waleed also emphasized that a distinction must be made between the civil and criminal cases.


At the end of the encounter, a discussion between the attendees was present, which included many interventions and recommendations, highlighting the necessity to change the legislator’s philosophy in drafting the law, as it moves away from the ethical view and includes only the utilitarian view, in addition to the importance of applying the law in some cases, such as tax crimes, and the impossibility of applying it on other crimes, such as theft. In addition, the fact that this law is inconsistent with social justice was also highlighted, as it biases with the rich against the poor, while legislations must reflect the societal condition, and prevail over the public interest.

Book: Law and Revolution: Legitimacy and Constitutionalism After the Arab Spring By Dr. Nimer Sultany

Institute of law holds s discussion about

Book: Law and Revolution: Legitimacy and Constitutionalism After the Arab Spring

By Dr. Nimer Sultany


On Thursday, October the 15th, 2020, The Institute of Law held an online discussion session about the book “Law and Revolution: Legitimacy and Constitutionalism After the Arab Spring” through the online platform, Zoom. The Main speaker in this discussion was Dr. Nimer Sultany, author of the book and Reader in Public Law at SOAS University of London, whom holds a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Harvard Law School. Dr. Nimer is also the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Yearbook of International Law, and has many publications on constitutional theory, comparative constitutionalism, and Israeli jurisprudence. His book “ Law and Revolution: Legitimacy and Constitutionalism After the Arab Spring” was awarded the winner of the 2018 ICON-S Book Prize and the 2018 Society of Legal Scholars Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship.

The discussion was firstly introduced by Dr. Jamil Salem, Academic Researcher at the Institute of law, whom welcomed the attendees and presented Dr. Nimer to them, and gave a brief introduction about the book. Afterwards, Dr. Nimer began the discussion by clarifying the book’s objectives of observing trends in comparative law and constitutional education; as the book brings the Constitutional Theory to the Middle East in order to study the Arab Spring through a realistic theory that observes revolutions in its true sense and reflects on our perspective on how we view our reality.

Subsequently, the discussion focused on the book’s position in analyzing and critiquing the role of law in the course of the Arab revolutions. This was made by studying the connection between law and revolution in ten chapters of the book, which included analysis of constitutional and legal developments in an Arab constitutional historical context. Hence, the book studied the revolution and the trials former regime-leaders in both Tunisia and Egypt, and the constitutional changes that took place at that time.


The book noted the difficulties encountered with these developments and the results that led to them, as the lack of previous studies relating to the Arab Spring in this context was also touched upon. Since it is rare for studies to address the role of law and its practices, this Book aims to question and criticize many of the prevailing political, legal and constitutional theories.


At the end of the session, a few minutes were saved for discussion, which featured many questions, interventions and recommendations.



Health policies in the Gaza Strip during the Corona Virus crisis

Gaza – Tuesday 16 June 2020, The Institute of Law at Birzeit University, organized a legal encounter entitled “Health policies in the Gaza Strip during the Corona Virus crisis”.

 Dr. Osama Bil’awi, has first explained what is meant by a health system, as it is used to define the whole group of organizations, institutions and resources that aim to improve the health, and the system’s needs to employees, funds, information, means of transportations and communication, and general directives. Dr. Bil’awi has also mentioned that the health system is based on six pillars; the leadership and governance of the health system; technology and the computer system; the funding; the healthcare institutions and the health services; human resources; and finally the pharmaceutical products and the medical supplies.

Dr. Bil’awi then presented statistics of the Covid 19 pandemic on a universal scale, and the statistics on the local level in the Gaza Strip. He mentioned that the number of confirmed cases in Gaza is 72, of which 45 has recovered, which leave us with 26 active cases. The compulsory quarantine for travelers entering the Strip from all the crossings was implemented on the 15th of March, and there were two hospitals used as quarantine hospitals; the European Hospital, and a field hospital built in Rafah.

Dr. Bil’awi went on speaking about the response of the Palestinian health system, which includes the structural framework and the response committees, public policies, and the certain procedures that were implemented. He also explained the general purposes of the emergency plan, which includes: strengthening the governance and the management of the response to Covid 19, ensuring the provision of the health services and its continuation, the support services related to Covid 19, and strengthening the health education, and the support of human resources, and the provision of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and logistics support.

Dr. Bil’awi then went on evaluating the local response to Covid 19 pandemic, of which informing the public is an important part. Providing the tests and the treatment, protecting the doctors and all those who work on the front line, lessening the risks of the propagation of the virus in prisons, providing water and improving the hygiene, and managing the crisis in way that respects human rights and being able to deal with the effects of social distancing are all standards for evaluating the local response to the pandemic.

In the end of the encounter the participants were given the opportunity to discuss the matter. Many questions were asked, comments were made and recommendations were given. To mention few of these recommendations: the importance to manage the crisis in a way that guarantees the respect of human rights, the procedures taken that aim to limiting the movement of the citizens, and to stop some of the medical treatment and operations shouldn’t limit the right of elderly people, people with disability, and the mother and child access to healthcare, and the need to establish a developed system of contact tracing, and working seriously on limiting the economic effect of the pandemic to respect the economic rights of every individual, including those with limited income, and those working in free professions, and ensuring that the most vulnerable don’t lose their housing because of their inability to pay the rent.



The Reality of Marginalised Groups in the Light of the Lockdown due to Corona Pandemic in Gaza Strip

The Institute of Law (IOL) Organizes a legal encounter in Gaza on

“The Reality of Marginalised Groups in the Light of the Lockdown due to Corona Pandemic in Gaza Strip.


Gaza – On Tuesday, the third of November 2020, the Institute of Law (IoL) of Birzeit University organised a legal encounter on “The Reality of Marginalised Groups in the light of the total ban due to Corona Pandemic in Gaza Strip“. It was held in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Palestinian Territories. Mr, Samir Al Manaama lawyer from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Dr. Mohammed Nassar, Director of the Development Projects’ Department at the Ministry of Social Development in Gaza, had taken part in the presentation of the legal encounter via Zoom, with the participation of a group of lawyers, jurists and interested individuals.  

Then Mr. Samir Al Manaama had begun his address by talking about the difficult economic conditions in Gaza Strip, and the unprecedented deterioration due to what the world is currently experiencing from the spread of Corona pandemic, that has taken over the entire world, including Gaza Strip. In addition to other factors, which contributed to the deterioration of economic and social conditions in Gaza; the most important is the Palestinian political division for more than 13 years, and also the Israeli blockade


He added that the competent authorities had imposed a complete closure since the beginning of Corona pandemic’s spread last August in Gaza, and had closed all economic establishments, work centres and commercial markets. Tens of thousands of day labourers were suspended from work, which expanded marginalised group  categories, other than those recognised during normal circumstances, including women, children, people with limited income, people with disabilities, the elderly and the unemployed. He added that the new categories emerges as a result of the sudden closures and restrictions, imposed from time to time, and as a result of declaring a state of emergency in Palestine.


Lawyer Al Manaama had referred to the legal protection, which is provided by the Palestinian legislation and international human rights conventions for marginalised and vulnerable groups; as he emphasised on the necessity of harmonising these legislations with the obligations of emerging State of Palestine, when signing these agreements, after obtaining the status of a non-member observer state, at the United Nations in 2012.


Al Manaama had also indicated that the essence of protection, which is guaranteed by the national and international legal standards, is requiring to adopt policies and taking procedures that protect vulnerable groups from the danger of marginalisation, and to enable them to enjoy all the rights guaranteed to them, similar to other categories; whereas, in compliance with the constitutional and legal responsibilities entrusted to the public authorities. He also called to speed up the Palestinian political system’s building, and to make the relevant ministries, a subject to oversight and accountability, by elected legislative authority.


Al Manaama then proceeded to talk about the Ministry of Social Development’s tasks in the light of Corona pandemic, which, according to the Palestinian legal system, is entrusted with the tasks of providing protection and care for marginalised groups, as well as preparing development plans and programs that would remove those groups from the circle of poverty and marginalisation. Then he added that the Ministry had taken a set of procedures which focused on supporting the quarantine places, by providing relief aid. He added that this aid had expanded to those quarantined in their homes, after the spread of the epidemic on the 24th of August, and it focused on monetary and food aid.


Then Dr. Mohammad Nassar had discussed in his intervention some economic and social indicators before and after Corona pandemic crisis, and how this crisis affected those indicators. He talked about the indicators of poverty and unemployment, including what was mentioned in the report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, issued in August 2020, as he indicated that 80% Gaza Strip people depend on international aid, which is constantly fluctuating, and that the World Bank and the Ministry of Social Development’s expectations indicate that the poverty rate after Corona pandemic will reach to 64% in Gaza Strip.


He also added that in the monetary assistance and food security’s indicator, the Ministry of Social Development’s data, is indicating that the number of beneficiaries of cash transfer program in the batch of July 2020, had reached to 115,000 Palestinian families; 80,000 are in Gaza Strip, and 35 thousand families are in the West Bank, and that in terms of food aid, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and the World Food Security Program are providing assistance to about 270,000 families in Gaza Strip. He pointed out that one of the main challenges which are facing the humanitarian sector was joining 65,000 families to the new poor circle.


At the end of the legal encounter, the discussion was opened, which included many interventions and recommendations. The most important is the need for the international community to assume its responsibilities in providing relief to the Palestinian territories’ residents, and for government agencies to initiate comprehensive development plans and measures. Also, the Palestinian legislator needs to adopt a modern law, to protect the marginalised groups, which aims to provide protection, care and development. In addition to the Palestinian government need to allocate sufficient resources and budgets, to enable the service ministries to carry out their tasks.


Collecting money in the light of Corona pandemic: between the legal text and the theory of force majeure

Gaza – On Wednesday 29th of July 2020, the Institute of Law (IoL) of Birzeit University organised a legal encounter on “Collecting money in the light of Corona pandemic: between the legal text and the theory of force majeure”. It was held in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung-Palestinian Territories. The legal Advisor, Mr. Maan Al Atrash, had spoken at the legal encounter.

Mr. Maan Al Atrash had started his speech by talking about collecting money through legal methods and their types, including obligations and debts through checks, bills of exchange, organized and customary debt bonds, and financial transfers according to the Palestinian Trade Law No. (2) for the year (2014) and Implementation Law No. (23) for the year (2005).

Al-Atrash then talked about the ways of collecting money, as he indicated that there is the friendly way through mediators or lawyers, and it may be done through a specific compromise to pay in cash or in installmints as appropriate. Or through the Public Prosecution office, submitting a legal complaint for a check without balance as it is a crime punishable by law. The matter is   transferred to the judiciary to apply the appropriate penal Code rules.  After the completion of the criminal part, it is also possible to collect money through execution order obtained through the competent court, which is usually the court of first instance. In addition, one of the methods is to resort directly to civil courts, when the original debt is not proven according to official or customary document.

Then he reviewed the topic of collecting debts, obligations and money from a practical point of view, as a practical experience before the competent authorities, and before the outbreak of Corona pandemic. In addition to the impact of economic conditions that Gaza Strip had been going through for more than ten years, and their impact on the collection process.

 Then he talked about the issue of collecting money and debts in the light of Corona pandemic, the range of legal enforcement of force majeure and emergency circumstances, the difference between them, and whether Corona pandemic is considered as a force majeure that prevented the collection of money, or an emergency circumstance from a legal perspective? And he added that there are two different opinions about adapting the impact of the pandemic, whether it is a force majeure or an emergency circumstance, as he defined both force majeure and emergency circumstances, and had pointed out the difference between them.

Al-Atrash added that there is a split in opinions about the legal adaptation to deal with this pandemic, and he indicated to the legality of applying one of the two theories.

At the end of his speech, Al -Atrash referred to the practical experience of dealing with Corona pandemic before the official authorities, during the period of declaring the state of emergency; and the circulars issued by the Monetary Authority to deal with this crisis; in addition to the provided solutions to deal with the collection of money under the circumstances of Corona pandemic. The discussion was opened, which included many questions, interventions and recommendations.



The Annexation Projects: the Political and Legal Implications

The Institute of Law on Wednesday, 10 June 2020, with support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stifitung, has organized a legal encounter entitled “The Annexation Projects: the political and legal implications”. The encounter took place through Zoom. The speakers were: Ms. Suhad Bishara, a lawyer and the head of the Land and planning department in Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Mr. Jamal Jum’a the coordinator of Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign, and Dr. Hasan Jabarin, a lawyer and the director of Adalah, as part of Birzeit Legal Encounters program, that the institute organizes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Jamil Salem welcomed the participants. Ms. Suhad Bishara was the first speaker; she gave an analysis of the legal aspects of the expected annexation operation. She emphasized on a very particular point; while the common discourse circulating, that the annexation project doesn’t change the situation on the ground, as annexation is considered to be the core of the Zionist project, and has always existed, therefore there is nothing new in that project, is true, nevertheless it is not very accurate. If annexation takes place, no matter how big or small the annexed parts of the land are, it will bring with it a large number of discriminatory laws – such as those promulgated in the 1950s – and extend its application to the annexed parts. Palestinians can easily imagine all the devastating consequences such laws can have, laws that implicitly aims to force the local population to evacuate the land.

On the International law level, the annexation discourse represents new challenges for the Palestinian researchers, academics, and jurists. Israel has always violated international law norms in the OPT, however until now those violations have been dealt with singly and separately, the Israeli overt decision of annexing parts of the West Bank, even if it is not executed anytime soon, renders the colonization a systematic and an ongoing act, therefore posing serious questions on how to deal with the Israeli system, how to define that system as a whole, and how to frame, analyze and expose the Israeli practices.

The second speaker was Mr. Jamal Jum’a, it was a very practical intervention, where Mr. Jum’a displayed a map made by the well-known Dutch cartographer Jan de Jong. He gave a complete and detailed explanation of the geographical aspects of the Israeli colonial project in the West Bank, which started in 1967.

Mr. Jum’a showed, on the displayed map, the areas targeted by the annexation, which includes mainly the east of the West Bank (the Jordan Valley) but also its west. One could be surprised when realizing that the western villages of Ramallah, Selfit, and the villages situated to the north west of Jerusalem. Mr. Jum’a went on explaining the great economic damages that would follow from the annexation of these areas. The Jordan Valley is the most important source of livestock in the West Bank, an important percentage of the agricultural wealth will be also lost, but most importantly is water resources, in fact, water resources in the West Bank are concentrated in the areas that will be annexed in the eastern and western parts of the West Bank. Mr. Jum’a finished his intervention by exposing the numerous difficulties that Palestinians will face in their daily life if the annexation takes place, most importantly the additional obstacles added to the freedom of movement.

The third and last intervention was that of Dr. Hasan Jabarin. He started his intervention from the point Ms. Bishara has emphasized; the annexation is de acto taking place, and this has been the case since 1967, and the very particular status of Jerusalem is by far the clearest example. The question therefore is “what is new?” “What has changed?” “why evoking the matter of annexation now?” The difference now is that the annexation we’re talking about is an annexation according to the Israeli law, the whole current discussion turns around one essential point; will Israel promulgate a clear and overt law through which it explicitly declares that parts of the West Bank are now subject to its sovereignty and accordingly constitutes a part of the Israeli State?  It is this particular point that causes all this controversy.

The step of promulgating a law that will legalize the annexation raises a heated debate inside Israel too. Up until now, Israel has been very reluctant when it comes to promulgating overtly racist laws; they would rather impose the facts on the ground than legalizing such practices. It is what differentiate it from the Apartheid system in South Africa; the Israeli legal culture does not legalize racism. So the main question is therefore will the annexation be applied according to a law? Or without it? And if the law is promulgated will that mean that the Israeli legal culture has changed towards one that is much more similar to that of the Apartheid regime in South Africa? Or will it continue with its traditional culture of practicing racism on the ground without the interference of law? This is not a simple matter and it is a very controversial issue inside the Israeli society.

Dr. Hasan expected a sever opposition inside the Israeli community to the annexation project. The international community, on the other hand – if we excluded the U.S. which supports the annexation – sees in in this project an end to the European project; the European project is based on one principle “two states for two people”, therefore we are waiting to see the position of the international community. As for the Palestinian position, Dr. Hasan expects that annexation will change the Palestinian discourse back to the discourse of “the right to self-determination”. In his opinion if annexation takes place – and the new de facto situation extends in time – along with an American support, a European and International silence, and an Arabic and Palestinian weakness, this will make the situation – with time – go back to what it was in the 1950s and 60s – No Palestinian State. This strike for the Palestinian State project, will force Palestinians to change their right discourse and adopt again “the right to self-determination” discourse, that discourse which provoked an enormous worldwide echo in the 1970s and 80s, but has dimmed during the past two decades.

Around 100 participants attended the legal encounter. The participants were then given the opportunity to comment and ask questions.