National Integrity System Study: Palestine 2009

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The existence of an effective national integrity system that addresses the potential risks of corruption at all levels is a prerequisite for good governance. Creating such a system requires broadening the accountability base within government so power is not concentrated amongst a few positions, and so each individual who occupies a public position is liable for his/her own performance and both monitors, and is monitored by, others in the system. Developing a national integrity system involves moving away from the top-down model of control, which is prevalent in authoritarian one-party governments and dictatorships, to a model characterised by horizontal checks and balances, and plurality of oversight mechanisms.

Institutions with the capacity to monitor and intervene in cases of abuse of authority - such as parliaments, public watchdog organisations, free press, courts, public auditors, civil society organisations and trade unions - are needed.

Such a system for safeguarding the integrity of government requires a broad vision to protect all structures against corruption, through reform of both legislation and institutional culture. To accomplish this, a phased approach is needed that engages the participation of the community, civil society organisations, the private sector, the media and religious institutions. Such a holistic reform program would address all aspects of governance, including the institutional framework (governmental apparatus and administration), and work toward legislation to protect civil liberties and address corruption in government as well as policies and planning that reflect the needs and desires of all sectors of society.

The implementation of a national integrity system is a major challenge for emerging states. Although the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) does not possess all the characteristics of a state, it can be considered an emerging governance system. The PNA, as is the case with governments in other nations under similar conditions, has not yet developed the institutional capacity to fulfill all of its functions and lacks the expertise needed to fully develop the systems needed to ensure integrity in government. Moreover, the PNA functions in a context in which most of its territory is under military occupation by Israel, and in which Israel has full control of the borders and border-crossings as well as much of the land and other resources under the PNA's jurisdiction.

This study examines the systems currently in place to ensure accountability in public, private and non-governmental Palestinian institutions. This constitutes part of a larger study sponsored by Transparency International (TI) to explore and evaluate the experience of different nations, including a number of Arab states in the region - Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco - in terms of systems of integrity.