Two recent decisions handed down by the Hebron magistrate, Mr. Hussein El-Shajuchi, and by the Bethlehem magistrate, Mr. Tawfik El-Sakka, on February 5, 1968 and on February 27, 1968, respectively, have brought to the fore some interesting legal problems arising from the Six Day War of June, 1967 as a result of which Judea and Samaria (formerly known as the “West Bank” of the Kingdom of Jordan) have come under Israeli control.
The immediate cause that has given rise to the elaboration by the two learned magistrates of the problems to be dealt with in this paper was the promulgation by the Officer Commanding, Israel Defence Forces in Judea and Samaria, on October 23, 1967, of Order No. 145, concerning the status of Israeli advocates in the courts of Judea and Samaria. Article 2 of the said Order provides that “notwithstanding any existing provisions to the contrary, any party to civil proceedings and any defendant in criminal proceedings may authorise an Israeli advocate to represent him in such proceedings.” Article 4 of the same Order stipulates that the Order shall be in force for a period of six months from the date of its entry into force (i.e. October 23, 1967) unless it is terminated at an earlier date by the Officer Commanding, Israel Defence Forces in Judea and Samaria. In the preamble to the Order the reasons given for its promulgation are “to ensure the efficient maintenance of the law, to enable the uninterrupted functioning of the Courts in the District [of Judea and Samaria] and to make available the services of advocates to the local population.” As will be more fully explained later, the reason for promulgating this Order was the strike of Arab lawyers in Judea and Samaria, which threatened to deprive courts and clients there of legal services.