[JURIST] Palestinian judges in the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder] who are unwilling to cooperate with local authorities will be replaced, Hamas [BBC backgrounder] spokesmen said Monday in a bid to end a three-month judicial stalemate. The Gaza Strip judiciary, under orders from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile], has refused to cooperate with the Hamas government in Gaza and has ceased functioning since Hamas violently took over the territory in June. A backlog of criminal cases quickly accumulated, and, in July, Hamas replaced [JURIST report] Palestinian Authority courts with a judicial committee to begin considering the excess. Monday's move is seen as an attempt to return judicial control to the courts.
Palestinian infighting between the Islamist Hamas and secular Fatah Movement [BBC backgrounder] has led to the establishment of two parallel Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas, which was elected as the ruling party [JURIST report] of the Palestinian Authority in early 2006, has refused to distance itself from terrorism or recognize Israel's right to exist as a nation-state, resulting in increased ostracism by the United States, the European Union, and Israel. Earlier this month Abbas announced changes to Palestinian election law [JURIST report] intended to reduce the political power of Hamas. AP has more.