Activities 2023

AMAN Coalition launches its fifteenth annual report on Integrity and Anti-Corruption Assessment 2022

AMAN Coalition launches its fifteenth annual report on Integrity and Anti-Corruption Assessment 2022

Under the slogan “the vicious cycle of occupation, split and political corruption”

AMAN Coalition launches its fifteenth annual report on Integrity and Anti-Corruption Assessment, 2022

Persisting situation undermines citizens’ resilience


Ramallah: for the 15th consecutive year, the Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (AMAN) launches its annual report on the assessment of integrity and anticorruption in Palestine in 2022. The report monitors official and community anticorruption efforts and highlights the challenges to the integrity of governance in public funds and affairs administration. It analyzes existing policies and plans together with the laws, measures, decisions, and activities put forth by public officials and sheds light on some cases, institutions, or cases of corruption to inform the public opinion and officials’ agenda.

The report focused on the changes in the reality of integrity and anticorruption efforts highlighting the challenges to governance integrity. It addresses the most salient forms of corruption while evaluating the efforts to prosecute and incriminate the perpetrators. Furthermore, the report traces the development of public fund management focusing on public budget preparation, approval, and implementation transparency. It also underlines some cases, institutions, or corruption offenses of public interest.

The report entitled “The Vicious Circle of Occupation, Split and Political Corruption” aims to present specific recommendations to Palestinian decision-makers and other stakeholders to help them adopt the necessary measures to promote the national integrity system and immunize it against corruption. It mainly stresses the need for government officials to make decisions that serve citizens and the public interest in order to restore citizens’ trust in state institutions and promote their role in shouldering the burdens.

Al-Husseini: The political power in both parts of the country usurps decision-making centers to serve goals that do not necessary fall within the public interest

Mr. Abdelqader Al-Hussein, Chairman of the Board of AMAN Coalition, focused in the beginning of his intervention on the political corruption resulting from the monopoly of political power. He emphasized that such an environment enables senior public officials to absolve their obligations to serve the public interest and abuse of their post and power of management of public affairs and funds to serve their personal interests with impunity.

He also pointed out that the opposing political parties have not for many years succeeded in putting an end to the political division. As a result of their failure, domestic and external conditions pushed for convictions that are likely to maintain the status quo. Simultaneously, the legislative power remains disrupted and unable to play an oversight role. Furthermore, the executive power has hegemonized the judiciary and reinforced its hold on decision-making centers. It adopts policies and decisions that deepen the political divide. Consequently, many narrow interests at regional and factional levels overrule and serve personal interests. This is exactly what political corruption means.


Attempts to suffocate the civil society in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Regarding civil society action, Al-Husseini noted that several attempts were made in 2022 to restrict the scope of civil action. These attempts include draft laws that prohibit civil society organizations from taking part in setting national priorities or exercising community oversight of the management of public funds and affairs. Furthermore, a draft regulation of not-for-profit organizations was proposed with legal measures and a regulation on licensing of media organizations. The authority in the Gaza Strip imposed restrictive measures on civil society organizations and peaceful assemblies by imposing an application for a permit or a notification to the Ministry of Interior (Police Department/ Institutions Intelligence Division) specifying the nature and proceedings of the activity several days before its set date.

Presidential decree on the formation of the High Judicial Council under his chairmanship in total contradiction with the Palestinian Basic Law and the principles put forth in the Declaration of Independence

Al-Husseini iterated that Presidential Decree No. (17) of 2022 on the formation of the High Judicial Council under the chairmanship of the President of the Executive Authority (Palestinian President) abolishes the Palestinian Basic Law and ignores the principles of the Charter of Independence by prejudice to the very principle of a democratic state, rule of law and separation of powers. Such a decree will enable executive power officials to continue to flee judicial oversight. This policy resulted in several months of disruption of the entire justice system due to long strikes. Another more recent example is shown in the decision issued by the administrative tribunal regarding the teachers’ strike.


Prolonged disruption of elections is a violation of the Basic Law and enables the executive power to avoid any effective official oversight or accountability

Speaking of democratic life, Al-Hussein stressed that failure to organize general (presidential and legislative) elections for the 13th year in a row has jeopardized the peaceful rotation of power via periodic elections. This situation also undermined citizens’ right to elect their representatives to the government. Violation of the Basic Law persisted in terms of holding public representative offices and equal opportunity to access political offices. As a result, citizens’ trust in political officials and state institutions dropped and frustration prevailed. Furthermore, the executive power is no longer under official oversight or effective accountability.

The de facto power in the Gaza Strip continues to monopolize the management of public affairs and funds. Hamas movement is focusing on the stability of its power by controlling decision-making centers in all legislative, executive, and judicial branches. It preserved a legislative council whose constitutional term has expired and controlled the formation of the judicial council. On top of that, it refrained from holding local elections in the Gaza Strip and continued to choose and appoint new municipal council members when changes are needed. It hijacks the power of the Council of Ministers and controls the appointment of administrative staff in charge of public affairs and funds.


Exceptions granted to political authority members shows weak compliance with the public office ethical and behavioral codes and the regulations on conflict of interest and acceptance of gifts

The government adopted systems to promote public servants’ integrity including disclosure of conflict of interest and a regulation on acceptance of gifts but it exempted senior officials of state institutions from filing a disclosure of mobile and immobile assets although they represent the group most exposed to corruption.

Promote the creation of a private sector’s parallel health system to rationalize medical referrals

The medical referrals bill, due to the purchase of services from outside government hospitals, accounted for NIS 1 billion in 2022. Moreover, the regulation regarding a joint compulsory universal health insurance system has not been adopted due to pressure from certain parties that benefit from increased medical referrals. An initiative was proposed by large investors, including the Palestine Investment Fund, to promote a policy to build a parallel health system from the private sector that benefits from a large number of referrals due to the low quality of services in public hospitals.


The government adopts a fiscal crisis relay policy without complying with the expenditure rationalization policy

In its management of public funds, the government adopted a policy of crisis relay, which resulted in accumulated debts and arrears. Consequently, the financial crisis escalated and triggered unions to raise their claims, which was marked by a long disruption of the education system and courts. The government has not applied the expenditure rationalization policies of the financial and administrative reform plans, public service reform, and pension reform. The salaries bill continued to increase with the appointment of 1500 new security staff members and the non-freezing of civil and military promotions.


“Sorooh Company”, Law by decree grants privileges to persons close to the political power without clarifying their relation to the company and their share of investment therein.

The Law by Decree Regarding the Companies Act No. (14) of 2021 does not conform to the principles of transparency with regard to ownership of private shareholdings. Article (14) on the Companies’ Registry does not include a provision to disclose the names of the company’s real “beneficiary” shareholders (owners). It only prescribes that the names of the signatories and directors general as well as the members of the board must be disclosed. For example, the government granted exceptional privileges to Sorooh Energy Company Ltd to convert solid waste from Zahrat Al-Finjan landfill into renewable energy. The franchise is accorded for twenty-five years as of the beginning of the plant’s commercial production without disclosing the name of the real owner. The Law by Decree on “Zahart Al-Finjan Franchise” includes unusual, unbalanced and exceptional special provisions compared to administrative contracts concluded to serve the public interest. The purpose of these provisions is to protect the franchise holder, Sorooh Company.

The accord of exceptional franchises and immunities in the Law by Decree to Sorooh Energy Company Ltd, without publishing the agreements and their subsequent Palestinian government and future generations’ obligations, and without disclosing the name of the beneficiary owner of the company, with the presence of senior political power officials, indicate a lack of transparency of the decisions made by government institutions. This situation also raises suspicions of conflict of interest and granting of franchises to individuals close to the political power without indicating their connection to the company or share of investment. Thus, the promulgation of the law by degree regarding Zahrat Al-Finjan franchise points out overlapping private and public interests and raises suspicion about the justification of granting undue franchises.

The government continues to act solely disregarding the importance of public participation, which broadened the trust gap between citizens and state institutions

The government continues to prepare draft laws in secrecy and refers them to the ministers without mentioning the name or nature of the law. Furthermore, citizens do not have access to information, which undermines transparency. The report highlighted several examples including the reluctance of government officials and public ministerial and non-ministerial institutions to disseminate facts or delay in sharing their interpretation of certain events. There are cases of conflicting interpretations by some officials of many public opinion issues in 2022. Examples include the privileges granted to ministers on top of their salaries, the transfer of the money of Palestinian workers in “Israel” to local banks and the development of the natural gas file, and the agreements of Zahrat Al-Finijan landfill. Furthermore, this affects appointments to senior positions and the non-publication of the rationale for purchasing vehicles for certain individuals or agencies in spite of the suffocating financial crisis and budget deficit. As a result, the trust gap between citizens and state institutions and officials increased further.


Persistent weak transparency and integrity of natural resources management

The government has not promulgated a law on competition and prohibition of monopolies, more importantly, to regulate the management of natural resources, which are the property of the Palestinian people. Such resources are still either under the PNA control or privatized and managed by private sector companies to provide public services. The government’s policy regarding natural gas file management is ambiguous and indicates a lack of compliance with transparency in the management of public resources. The government adopted a law on the Petroleum Agency that legitimizes its wrongdoings and weakens its oversight in a way that increases the risks of corruption.


Continued non-disclosure of the fact-finding committees’ inquiry into the violations of state lands

The report raised questions about the outcome of the committees formed by the government and presidency office to inquire into the violations of state lands. It is not known if they submitted reports showing the size and nature of violations and their perpetrators, which further wastes state resources and properties. As a result, violations of state land and their use for private rather than public interest continue notwithstanding the efforts made by the Land Authority to protect state lands and redress the situation of perpetrators. The government additionally does not publish the names of state land beneficiaries and does not provide citizens with information on the holders of private franchises or their relatives who dispose of state land and waqf (endowment) properties.

76% of complaints and notifications submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission relate to abuse of power

Dr. Azmi Shaibi, AMAN Coalition’s Board of Directors Advisor on Anticorruption Matters, reviewed the prosecution and indictment of perpetrators of acts of corruption in 2022. He explained that 76% of the complaints and notifications received by ACC related to misuse of power.  Suspicion of corruption in the public sector represented 52% of the total number of complaints and notifications, followed by the local government sector, which represented 34% while other sectors accounted for 14% of complaints. Statistics on those reporting to the Advocacy and Legal Counselling Center at AMAN show that most suspicions of corruption relate to ministerial and non-ministerial institutions and local authorities.


11% (97 complaints) of the complaints and notifications submitted to ACC are connected to senior officials

He added that AMAN’s annual corruption perception report of 2022 shows that 73% of citizens believe that corruption is concentrated in the senior posts, while 11% (97 complaints) of notifications submitted to ACC concern senior officials (minister, deputy-minister, assistant-deputy-minister, director general, ambassadors, members of the judiciary and prosecution).


The palm dates case: from prosecution to blackmailing to usurp properties

The prosecution of the settlements’ dates whitewashing case continues for the third year. The case relates to an abuse of the favorable treatment granted by Turkey to Palestinian dates to sell settlements’ dates in Palestinian packaging. However, in 2022, it started to take a different course. Instead of referring the perpetrators to court, it appears to be a settlement of accounts and an attempt to lay a hand on the property of one of the accused persons, a major investor in date-growing and marketing. AMAN coalition had warned against the non-prosecution of the case within the justice system and raised fears that the whole case will turn into a process of settlement of accounts, extortion, and financial settlements.

Sustaining the status quo threatens to eternalize the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, thus compromising our just cause

Mr. Issam Haj Hussein, AMAN Coalition’s Executive Director, concluded the conference by addressing the practices of both ruling authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He explained that such practices will no doubt lead to the gradual separation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip into to political entities. Both authorities continue to apply unconstitutional measures to consolidate their power while excluding the other party at all institutional, policy, legal, and executive levels. This situation harms the national liberation project and delays the establishment of the Palestinian State not to mention its adverse effect on internal, regional, and international solidarity with the Palestinian question. It further increases popularism and extremism in addition to a deviation from the democratic state, rule of law, and peaceful rotation of power. Moreover, the loss of trust undermines citizens’ response to state initiatives (like the social security initiative) or proposed solutions to solve the crises connected to the claims of unions and other movements, as was the case in the crises of teachers, doctors, and lawyers.


General elections are needed to revive democratic life

Haj Hussein proposed detailed recommendations informed by the findings of the report. AMAN Coalition recommends the adoption of a public strategy of reform to promote political integrity as a necessary entry point to combatting corruption. This can be achieved by the immediate announcement of a date to organize general elections and form a national-unity government to revive democracy and put an end to political division. As such, the inducive environment of corruption will be dismantled. All civil society organizations including unions, associations, and others need to form a national coalition to lobby for the organization of the elections and submit suggestions to the leadership to overcome the challenges to their organization by mobilizing the international community to compel the occupation authorities to implement the Elections Protocol signed with the PNA and ensure that elections are held in Jerusalem.


Establish an independent committee to oversee appointments to senior public posts

AMAN Coalition called on both authorities in the West Bank and Gaza to halt all the policies and measures that deepen the political division and corruption in order to prevent the perpetuation of the division and creation of two separate entities. It is the responsibility of the de facto authority in Gaza to allow the organization of local elections to enable citizens to choose their representatives in these bodies. AMAN Coalition also invites the authority to establish an independent committee to oversee the appointments to senior public offices and adopt a clear mechanism for the appointments to sensitive state posts. Such posts include ambassadors, governors, commanders of security forces, heads of ministerial and non-ministerial public institutions as well as the president of the High Judicial Council and the President of the High Court. The government should enact a law regarding governors, their appointment criteria, and qualifications. The same law should specify their mandates and the limits of their powers as well as the accountability mechanisms applicable to them.

Form a national committee to supervise the reform process

To promote governance integrity, AMAN calls on all civil society organizations to establish and lead a broad national coalition to be mobilized to impose a serious reform process that prioritizes the public interest. This can be achieved by forming a national committee to supervise the reform process with the membership of respected and trusted public figures. The government also needs to adopt an expenditure rationalization policy and focus on a fair distribution of the limited resources and burdens while prioritizing the sectors of health, education, and assistance to the marginalized and poor groups


Adoption of a policy of disclosure of assets by senior officials and enforcement of citizens’ right to access information

A policy needs to be adopted to compel senior officials to disclose their assets upon their appointment to their offices on a periodic basis. The Companies’ Act needs to be reviewed to include provisions on the compulsory disclosure of the names of beneficial owners not only the signatories and board members of the companies. Furthermore, the government needs to promote government transparency and respect the right of citizens and civil society organizations to have access to public information. The law on the national archives must be promulgated while continuing the computerization of government archives as a preemptive step toward the promulgation of the law on access to information and its enforcement.

Issue a law to regulate franchise, and a law on competition and prohibition of monopoly

AMAN Coalition also advised the government to publish all the franchises’ agreements and their annexes and subsequent obligations; it also reiterated the necessity to issue a law to regulate the granting of franchises and a law on competition and the prohibition of monopoly as well as a law to regulate the Palestine Investment Fund, being a sovereign fund.

The political power needs to enhance the effectiveness and independence of official and civil society oversight and refrain from interfering in the work of the Public Prosecutor’s Office

AMAN Coalition called for the abolition of all legislative and institutional measures that reinforced the domination of the executive power over the judiciary and oversight institutions in a way that weakened their ability to hold the political power to account. The judiciary should be empowered and protected against the interference of political and security agencies. The proposal to adopt the civil society’s vision to reform the judiciary was highly welcomed. Moreover, the government should refrain from interfering in the work of the Public Prosecution, which should be subordinated to the Public Prosecutor and High Judicial Council. The Prosecution also needs to be empowered to finish the accumulated investigation files and minimize the impunity of corrupt senior officials. The extrajudicial settlement of cases of corruption must also be halted.


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