Palestine Human Rights and Corruption

Head of state: Mahmoud Abbas

Head of government: Mohammad Shteyyeh

Political system: Semi-autonomous territories, occupied by Israel since 1967

Democracy Status Index (BTI): No data available

Corruption Index (CPI): No data available

Human rights

In Palestine, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch criticize arbitrary arrests as well as torture and ill-treatment in custody, administrative detention without charge or trial, unlawful killings, attacks on Israeli civilians, particularly by self-made “Qassam” missiles in southern Israel, restrictions on opinion – and freedom of assembly (in this context, excessive use of force by Palestinian security forces) and basically a climate of lawlessness and impunity, especially in actions against political opponents, violence against women (especially “honor killings”). It is also criticized that the death penalty still exists in Palestine. On October 18, 2020, three men were sentenced to death for murder in the Gaza Strip.

On the other hand, human rights organizations also complain of numerous violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by Israel in Palestine. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 3,532 Palestinians, including 799 minors, were killed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between January 19, 2009 and September 30, 2020. According to UN figures, at least 1,473 civilians were killed in the Israeli military operation “Protective Edge” in the Gaza Strip in July / August 2014. In addition, the restriction of freedom of movement is criticized and the social and economic rights of the Palestinians through numerous checkpoints in Palestine as well as the construction of the separation facility, 85% of which will be built on Palestinian territory, the expropriation and destruction of housing and property, the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, all of which are under international law Illegal are the violence by settlers, the inaction of the Israeli military, protecting the Palestinian civilian population, detention without charge and trial, torture and ill-treatment in detention (including minors) that spouses or family members of prisoners are often denied access to their relatives, as well as impunity for human rights violators.

Palestine Human Rights


According to the 2019 corruption report of the Palestinian association AMAN – Coalition for Accountability and Integrity, in 2019, as in previous years, the most common form of corruption in the public, private and civil society in Palestine is cousinism, clergy and favoritism in services and staffing (Wasta = good Relationships). Other complaints include breaches of duty of loyalty, abuse of power, misuse of public funds, embezzlement of public funds, bribery, fraud and money laundering.

According to HOMEAGERLY, 60.2% of corruption complaints in 2019 related to the public sector and 28.5% to local government. The remaining sectors (civil society, trade unions, associations, charities) received 11.3% of the complaints.

Of the 482 complaints received by December 26, 2018, the Anti-Corruption Commission forwarded only 19 cases (3.9%) to the responsible public prosecutor. In 2019 there were 86 cases out of 904 (= 9.5%). Many citizens question the Commission’s independence, believing that the offices of the President and Prime Minister, government departments, the security apparatus, governors, mayors, members of parliament and political party leaders intervene in the work of the Commission. Very few officials are held responsible for their crimes, which weakens citizens’ trust in the public authorities.

Cases of forgery, be it the forgery of official or personal papers or the use of forged papers, were the most prominent corruption charges in the cases pending before the Corruption Criminal Court in 2019.

On April 2, 2014 Palestine was the Convention of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC joined). It is the first binding international treaty to combat corruption. It obliges the contracting parties to take preventive measures, punish corrupt public officials and to cooperate internationally.

In June 2010, President Mahmoud Abbas signed a law to combat all forms of corruption. In doing so, he met the demands of representatives of the public sector, parliamentarians and civil society and the conditions of the UN Convention against Corruption. The law provides prison sentences of 3-15 years for wasta and favoritism. It is applicable not only to the heads and staff of Palestinian institutions and organizations, but also to international staff working in Palestine.

At the end of the year, an anti-corruption committee and an anti-corruption tribunal were set up and, in September 2011, agriculture minister Ismail Daiq was charged with corruption in a public office.

In April 2015, the Anti-Corruption Committee published its second Anti-Corruption Strategy 2015-2018. It comprises four priority areas 1. Corruption prevention, 2. Law enforcement and criminal prosecution, 3. Awareness-raising, training and further education as well as community participation and 4. International cooperation.