Palestine: Lawyers protest Abbas’ ‘rule by decree’

Palestine: Lawyers protest Abbas' 'rule by decree'

Hundreds of lawyers in Palestine took to the streets yesterday to protest in the occupied West Bank against the Palestinian Authority’s “rule by decree”.

President Mahmoud Abbas governs the region without a parliament as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has been inactive since 2007.

But a new leadership at the Palestinian Bar Association has sought to pressure the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Association president, Suheil Ashour, said at the protest in the city of Ramallah yesterday that the bar would stand firm against legislation delivered by decree.

He said lawyers wanted “either to stop their implementation now or to cancel” numerous prohibitive laws.

While the Palestinian constitution permits presidential decrees “if necessary”, the lawyers said Mr Abbas had gone too far.

“These laws don’t only affect the Bar Association, but also the Palestinian people as a whole. I am here to tell President Abbas that these decrees destroy the judicial system, destroy the ruling authority, and could start a civil war,” Zainab al-Salfity, a lawyer, told Al Jazeera.

Mr Abbas is thought to have issued some 400 presidential decrees while in office.

“We need a legislative council, because laws need to go through different readings before they’re enforced. Now there are a few people making laws and that’s a problem,” Abed Shabaneh, a lawyer, told Al Jazeera.

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