Obstacles to Rule of Law in Palestine

The separation wall in the West Bank. (photo: Reuters)
The rule of law is definitely a worthy value to strive for, achieving it in Palestine requires some fundamental changes.

By Jonathan Kuttab | This Week in Palestine | Sept 2021

There is no rule of law when the laws are military orders, issued by the occupying forces to serve their own interests and those of the Jewish settlers

Law plays an important role in the running of any society. It provides the framework for regulating the behavior of individuals, the distribution of resources, the expected norms, and the sanctions for violating them.

In many developing countries, particularly totalitarian regimes, law becomes a useful tool for the preservation of privilege and the oppression of masses. It is sometimes given divine authority or at least sanction and becomes part of the reality that the poor and the oppressed have to deal with. In such societies, law is rarely, if ever, used against the rich and the powerful who are somehow always exempt from its application, but its provisions are ruthlessly applied to the weak, the poor, and those without proper connections.

In such societies, ordinary people have no respect for laws, unless they are specifically and currently applied and enforced, through the courts, the police, and the heavy arm of the state. It is therefore a matter of cleverness to creatively avoid the rules and the laws; and perpetrators, when caught, feel no sense of shame or guilt, but rather frustration and resentment since they realize that it is only their lack of power that led to their punishment and not the illegal behavior, since they could easily have escaped if only they had had the right connections.

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