Position Paper by the Civil Society Organizations on the Decree-Law Establishing the Palestinian Medical Association 2022
Following the overthrow of the judicial council, the same strategy is used to topple the Palestinian Medical Association and CSOs.
The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including associations, human rights and civil organizations, syndicates, and unions, have all come together in response to the issuance of a decree-law regarding the Medical Association for the year 2022. This decree-law establishes a Palestinian Medical Association and creates a constituent council that acquires the powers of the current Medical Association and is authorized to prepare a draft law for the Palestinian Medical Association. The entire CSOs banded together to investigate and identify and the dangers of this decree-law and its implications for the future of trade unions and civil work, especially in light of the subsequent regulations and legislations aimed at restraining the CSOs’ work. The undersigned organizations and actors discussed the seriousness of the measures taken against CSOs including institutions, associations, non-profits, and trade unions, as well as the grave ramifications for the Palestinian society in light of the devastating effects of the Israeli occupation, which targets the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian political system. Thus, the undersigned organizations and actors state the following:
– The approach of dissolving the existing bodies and forming new ones, including elected bodies that are formed according to the rule of law, and authorizing the new bodies to prepare draft laws at the whims of the executive authority, which creates a serious conflict of interests, as in the case of the High Judicial Council's dissolution, the formation of a transitional judicial council, and the amendment of the Judicial Authority Law. This fragmented the judiciary, eroded public trust in it, and prevented it from achieving the desired reform.
– The Medical Association decree-law comes amid the serious encroachment of the government and executive authority on all aspects of civil and trade union work in Palestine, particularly after all attempts to amend the legislation related to associations and the issuance of the most recent law of non-profit companies. Its goal is to undermine and constrain civil work by placing all of its institutions and activities in the hands of the executive authority in a way that serves its interests, destroys the democratic foundations and principles of the rule of law on which these institutions are founded, limits their ability to serve the groups they sponsor, and renders them bodies without influence.
– The undersigned organizations and actors view the trade unions and CSOs as the last democratic bodies to be elected by their general assembly in accordance with the rule of law principle that governs them. The executive authority's interference in these bodies, through unconstitutional decree-laws, as well as their dissolution and the appointment of other bodies that serve the executive authority, reflects the current contradictory political will in Palestine towards the civil society and trade union work, and affirms the executive authority's rejection of elected bodies that do not serve and answer to their every desire in public affair matters.
– The organizations and actors express their disapproval of the continued issuance of decree-laws that contradict the provisions of the Basic Law. Ever since the suspension and dissolution of the Legislative Council, the number of decrees by law has surpassed 300. Through the issuance of this decree-law, the president disavows the recommendations he approved regarding the non-issuance of decree-laws that contradict Article (43) of the Basic Law. Accordingly, this makes decree-laws appealable, which affects organizations and individuals' legal positions.
– It affirms its support for all trade unions against any intervention in their affairs and any attempts to control them, and supports the Medical Association in its peaceful protests, including the right to strike as guaranteed by the Basic Law and the international human rights treaties to which Palestine has acceded.
– It calls on national and political forces to take a stand against the executive authority's encroachment on CSOs, to take responsible stances against this interference in the affairs of trade unions and civil society, and work to put an end to it, in a way that elevates civil society's status, which has long served as the driving force for national action.
– The organization and actors affirm their opposition to the aforementioned decree-law and demand its withdrawal and the abolition of its effects, in accordance with the recommendations approved by the president in regards to not issuing decree-laws that contradict Article (43) of the Basic Law, and respecting and promoting the civil and trade union work in the Palestinian society
– The undersigned organizations and actors believe that the issuance of this decree-law undermines the reconciliation efforts that began in Algeria. They call on all Palestinians to unite in order to implement the outcomes of the forces and factions' dialogues on ending the division and to hold general presidential, legislative, and national council elections. This will serve to reestablish the legitimacy of the Palestinian political system, as well as the legislative council's role in issuing legislation and overseeing the performance of the government, in a way that achieves accountability as the foundation for good governance.