Parliament strengthens Abbas' grip on PA

The outgoing Palestinian parliament, in its last session on Monday, gave Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas new powers to appoint a constitutional court, potentially putting him at odds with the Hamas-led parliament to be sworn in this week. Legal expert Issam Badram said the amendments to existing law would allow Abbas to "cancel any law approved by the new parliament on the pretext it is unconstitutional." Abbas thereby strengthened his grip on the Palestinian Authority just days before the Hamas-dominated parliament convenes on Thursday.