Researchers, scholars delve into Palestinian social security system

As part of its continued efforts to analyze, discuss, and explore legal and constitutional issues relevant to the daily lives of Palestinians, the Institute of Law at Birzeit University held a legal session entitled “A Rights-based perspective on Social Security,” on Saturday, December 8, 2018. 

The session, organized together with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, featured Issam Abdeen, of Al-Haq - an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organization- who delved into the recently-adopted social security system in Palestine utilizing his extensive human rights background. 

Alaa Hamad, a legal researcher within the Institute of Law, gave a brief statement in which she discussed social security as a fundamental right before it being adopted as a system through legislation. 

Hamad emphasized the significance of exploring the legal aspects of the social security system and how it is regulated, and noted the great importance of the law by decree itself, as it directly affects the finances and lives of a large number of Palestinian employees. 

Abdeen, who recently published a paper on the social security system in Palestine, began his address by noting that social security is a right guaranteed by international human rights covenants. Additionally, he mentioned that Article 10 of the Palestinian Basic Law put the onus of fulfilling the social security right on the Palestinian state. 

Abdeen remarked that there was a problem in how the social security system is discussed by the Palestinian public, commenting that social security is the right of every Palestinian, and that the real problem lies within the system through which that right would be secured. 

The issue, Abdeen stressed, was the lack of trust between the citizens and the Palestinian Authority, and the state of political alienation felt by Palestinians. Social security, he added, revolves around social justice, social protection, and the redistribution of wealth - concepts that can only be applied within a well-designed governance system. 

Abdeen suggested that a restructuring of the Social Security Council and increased transparency in designing and announcing its financial, functional, and administrative structures would lead the way toward a reconciliation between the citizens and the Palestinian Authority.