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Ref: 21/2017

Media has recently published statements attributed to officials from Hamas Movement about the latter’s intention to form an administrative committee in the Gaza Strip. This came after the Change and Reform Bloc issued in August 2016 a law, without publishing it, to form a governmental administrative committee, without publishing it. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) follows up with deep concern these statements that portend the practical and complete separation of the Gaza Strip. PCHR calls upon both parties to the political split to assume their responsibilities and immediately work on achieving the reconciliation and holding the general elections.

Salah al-Bardawil, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and Hamas Political Bureau, revealed to media, “PLC’s intention to find an administrative formula that fits with the Gaza Strip’s current situation due to PLC’s capacity as a legal reference for the Deputy Ministers in the Gaza Strip in order to ease pressures facing them. This administrative formula contributes to developing the administrative work.

According to PCHR’s investigations, the Change and Reform Bloc in the Gaza Strip approved in a second reading the law of “2016 Governmental Administrative Committee” on 07 August 2016. The abovementioned law was sent to be published in the next day, but was not for unknown reasons.

According to Article (2) of the aforementioned law, the Administrative Committee is comprised of 6 members; one of whom is the Representative of the Finance Ministry and is also the Head of the Committee.  Meanwhile, there is another member representing the General Secretariat of the Ministers Council and also the rapporteur of the Committee, and the 4 other members represent the Ministries of Interior and National Security, Education, Health and National Economy.

PCHR goes through the same difficult conditions experienced by the Gaza Strip and is so fully aware of the negative effects of failing to end the division, which resulted in absence of the political and administrative reference in the Gaza Strip. However in the meantime, PCHR stresses that the two parties to the division are responsible for the current situation as both did not apply the Reconciliation Agreement. PCHR also emphasizes that it is illogical to commit a new mistake in order to solve a previous default or mistake that both parties were responsible for.

It should be noted that the Gaza Strip has suffered from a state of political-administrative vacuum since the formation of the National Unity Government according to an agreement reached by the two parties to the division following al-Shati’ Agreement signed in April 2014. However, the Unity Government didn’t assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip due to the disagreements between the two parties to the division on some of the reconciliation files. The file of the Gaza Government servants, who were assigned during the division, was the most prominent obstacle in the way to applying the abovementioned agreement as the two parties did not reach a detailed agreement that would resolve this disagreement.

PCHR stresses that solving the Gaza strip problems will only be through the national reconciliation, full application of all terms embedded in the Reconciliation Agreement and holding the Presidential and Legislative elections. PCHR also warns that forming the Administrative Committee is considered as a setback for the reconciliation efforts as it institutionalizes the division and paves the way for totally separating the Gaza Strip, serving only the Israeli interests

PCHR calls upon the Palestinian President and Hamas Movement to work together to guarantee the unity of the Palestinian land and confront the Israeli schemes aiming at dismantling and making a Jewish majority in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). PCHR also emphasizes that the current situation is only in favor of the Israeli declared plan to separate the Gaza Strip and seize control over the West Bank.

PCHR calls upon all factions and Palestinian people to refuse any project that would contribute to separating the Gaza Strip or devoting the division. PCHR also stresses that everyone is responsible today more than ever, and we should not forget our main cause in light of the political bickering and Israeli pressures.