Palestinian Basic Law
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The Palestinian Basic Law

A collection of various propsals and amendments to the Basic Law of Palestine.

2002 Basic Law

2002 Basic Law
The Basic Law. Ramallah: 2002. Miftah,, accessed 13 December 2007. This is the Basic Law that was passed by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 1997, and ratified by President Yasser Arafat in 2002.  Note that the 2002 Basic Law does not include the post of prime minister, and a number of competencies were transferred from the president to the cabinet in the 2003 amendment. Variations between the two are considerable in the sections that concern the authorities of the president and the cabinet. Please consult the Amended Basic Law of 2003 for the version that is currently in force.


Ratified in Ramallah on May 29, 2002.

Chapter One

Article 1

Palestine is part of the large Arab World, and the Palestinian People are part of the Arab Nation. Arab Unity is an objective which the Palestinian People shall work to achieve.

Article 2

The Palestinian People are the source of all power, which shall be exercised through the legislative, executive, and judicial authorities, based on the principle of separation of powers, and in the manner set forth in this Basic Law.

Article 3

Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine.

Article 4

1. Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect and sanctity of all other heavenly religions shall be maintained. 2. The principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation. 3. Arabic shall be the official language.

Article 5

The governing system in Palestine shall be a democratic parliamentary system based on political and party pluralism. The President of the National Authority shall be directly elected by people. The Government shall be responsible to the President and to the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Article 6

The principle of the rule of law shall be the basis of government in Palestine. All authorities, powers, agencies, institutions and individuals shall be subject to law.

Article 7

Palestinian citizenship shall be regulated by law.

Article 8

The flag of Palestine shall be in four colors, and in accordance with the dimensions and measurement approved by the Palestinian Liberation Organization. It shall be the official flag of the country.

Chapter Two – Public rights and freedoms

Article 9

All Palestinians are equal under the law and judiciary, without discrimination because of race, sex, color, religion, political views, or disability.

Article 10

1. Basic human rights and freedoms shall be binding and respected. 2. The Palestinian National Authority shall work without delay to join regional and international declarations and covenants which protect human rights.

Article 11

1. Personal freedom is a natural right, and shall be guaranteed and protected. 2. It is unlawful to arrest, search, imprison, restrict the freedom, or prevent the movement of, any person, except by judicial order in accordance with the provisions of law. The law shall specify the period pre-arrest detention. Imprisonment or detention shall only be permitted in places that are subject to laws related to the organization of prisons.

Article 12

Every arrested person shall be informed of the reasons for his arrest or detention. He shall be promptly informed, in a language he understands, of the nature of the charges brought against him. He shall have the right to contact a lawyer and to be tried without delay.

Article 13

1. No person shall be subject to any duress or torture. All persons deprived of their freedom shall receive proper treatment. 2. All statements or confessions obtained through violation of paragraph one of this article shall be considered null and void.

Article 14

The accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law that guarantees the right to defend himself. Any person accused in a criminal case shall be represented by a lawyer.

Article 15

Punishment shall only be imposed upon individuals. Collective punishment is prohibited. Crime and punishment shall only be determined by law. Punishment shall be imposed only by judicial order, and shall apply only to actions committed after the promulgation of law.

Article 16

It is unlawful to conduct any medical or scientific experiment on any person without his prior legal consent. No person shall be subject to medical examination, treatment, or surgery, except in accordance with law. Transplantation of human organs, and new scientific developments shall be regulated to serve legitimate humanitarian purposes.

Article 17

Homes shall be inviolable; thus, they shall not be subject to surveillance, entrance or search, except in accordance with a valid judicial order, and in accordance with the provisions of law. Any consequences resulting from violations of this article shall be considered invalid. Individuals who suffer from such violation shall be entitled to fair compensation guaranteed by the Palestinian National Authority.

Article 18

Freedom of belief and the performance of religious rituals are guaranteed, provided that they do not violate public order or public morals.

Article 19

Every person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and expression, and shall have the right to publish his opinion orally, in writing, or in any form of art, or through any other form of expression, provided that it does not contradict with the provisions of law.

Article 20

Freedom of residence and movement shall be guaranteed within the limits of law.

Article 21

1. The economic system in Palestine shall be based on the principle of free market economy. The Executive Authority may establish public companies which shall be organized in accordance with law. 2. The freedom of economic activity is guaranteed. The law shall organize its supervising rules and limitations. 3. Private property shall be protected and, shall not be expropriated except in the public interest, and for a fair compensation in accordance with the law, or pursuant to a judicial order. 4. Confiscation shall be in accordance with a judicial order.

Article 22

1. Social, health, disability, and retirement insurance shall be regulated by law. 2. The welfare of families of martyrs’, prisoners of war, the injured, and the disabled, shall be regulated by law. The National Authority shall guarantee them education services, health and social insurance.

Article 23

Proper housing is a right for every citizen. The Palestinian National Authority shall secure housing for those without shelter.

Article 24

1. Every citizen has the right to education. It shall be compulsory until at least the end of basic grades, and it shall be free in public schools and institutes. 2. The Palestinian National Authority shall supervise all levels of education and its institutions, and shall strive to upgrade the educational system. 3. The Law shall guarantee the independence of universities, higher institutes, and scientific research centers, in a manner that guarantees the freedom of scientific research, as well as literary, artistic, and cultural creativity. The Palestinian National Authority shall encourage and support such creativity. 4. Private schools and educational institutions shall comply with the curriculum approved by the Palestinian National Authority, and shall be subject to its supervision.

Article 25

1. Work is a right, duty and honor. The Palestinian National Authority shall strive to provide it to any individual capable of performing it. 2. Work relations shall be organized in a manner which guarantees justice and provides security, health, and social insurance to all workers. 3. Organization of unions and guilds is a right which shall be regulated by law. 4. The right to conduct a strike shall be exercised within the limits of law.

Article 26

Palestinians shall have the right to participate in the political life individually and in groups. They have the following rights in particular: 1. To establish and join political parties in accordance with the law. 2. To establish unions, guilds, associations, societies, clubs, and public institutions in accordance with the law. 3. To Vote and nominate for election, representatives among them by ballot in accordance with the law. 4. To hold public office and positions in accordance with the principle of equal opportunities. 5. To conduct special meetings without the presence of police members, and to conduct public meetings, processions, and assemblies, within the limits of law.

Article 27

Establishment of newspapers and all media means is a right for all, guaranteed by this Basic Law. However, their financing resources shall be subject to law. Freedom of audio, visual, and written media, as well as freedom to print, publish, distribute, transmit, together with the freedom of individuals working in this field, is guaranteed by this Basic Law, other related laws. Censorship on media shall be prohibited. No warning, suspension, confiscation, cancellation, or restrictions shall be imposed on media except by law, and in accordance with a judicial order.

Article 28

No Palestinian may be deported from the homeland, prevented or prohibited from returning to or leaving it, deprived of his (citizenship), or surrendered to any foreign entity.

Article 29

Maternity and childhood welfare is a national duty. Children shall have the right to: 1. Comprehensive protection and welfare 2. Not to be exploited in any purpose, and shall not be allowed to perform works which might damage their safety, health, or education. 3. Protection from harm and cruel treatment 4. Law prohibits beating children and treating them cruelly by their relatives. 5. Shall be segregated in case they are sentenced form adults, and treated in a manner which is appropriate to their age and rehabilitation.

Article 30

1. Litigation is a protected and guaranteed right to all people. Each Palestinian shall have the right to find sanctuary in the legal system. Litigation procedures shall be organized by law to guarantee prompt settlement of cases. 2. Laws shall not make any decision or administrative work immune against judicial control. 3. Judicial mistakes shall result in compensation by the National Authority. Conditions and methods of such compensation shall be regulated by law.

Article 31

An independent commission for human rights shall be established by law, which will specify its formation, duties, jurisdiction. The Commission shall submit its reports to the President of the National Authority, and to the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Article 32

Each aggression committed against any personal freedom, against private life of human being, or against any of rights or freedom, which have been guaranteed by the law or by this basic law, shall be considered as a crime. Criminal and civil case resultant from such infringement shall not be subject to any status of limitation. The National Authority shall guarantee fair indemnity for those who suffered from such damages.

Article 33

A balanced and clean environment is one of the human rights. The preservation and protection of the Palestinian environment from pollution, for the sake of present and future generation, is a national duty.

Chapter Three – The Legislative Authority

Article 34

1. The Palestinian Legislative Council is the elected legislative authority. 2. Without prejudice to the provision of this law, the Legislative Council shall assume its legislative and oversight duties, as prescribed in its Standing Orders. 3. The term of this Council shall be the interim period.

Article 35

1. The Legislative Council shall be composed of 88 Members elected in accordance with law. 2. If the position of one Member or more became vacant due to death, resignation, or loss of legibility, elections shall be conducted in the concerned constituency to elect a successor in accordance with law.

Article 36

Before taking on any responsibility, every Member shall swear the following oat before the Council: – “I swear by Allah Almighty to BE faithful to the Homeland, and to preserve the rights and interests of the people and nation, and to respect law and perform my duties in the best manner, as Allah is my witness”.

Article 37

In its first meeting, the Council shall elect a Speaker, two deputies, and a Secretary General; in all they makeup the Presidency Office of the Council. It is not allowed to combine between Membership in the Presidency office of the Legislative Council, the Presidency of the Executive Authority, and membership in the Cabinet, or any other governmental position.

Article 38

The Council shall accept the resignation of its Members, and establish its own Standing Orders, as well as rules of questioning its Members, in a way which does not contradict with the provisions of this Basic Law, or with the general constitutional principles. The Council shall be solely responsible for maintaining order and security during sessions and meetings of its committees. Security men shall not be present in the Council, unless requested by the Speaker, or by the Head of the Committee according to the situation.

Article 39

The President of the Palestinian National Authority shall open the ordinary session of the Council and deliver his opening statement.

Article 40

1. Members of the Council shall not be questioned, through either a civil or criminal procedure, because of their actions, or opinions, or votes in the Council’s sessions and Committees’ meetings, or because of any action they undertake outside the Council in the course of their functions as Members, to enable them perform their parliamentary mission. 2. No Members shall be disturbed in any manner, nor shall any search be made of his luggage, house, place of residence, car, or office, and in general any real estate or transferable property, throughout the period of immunity. 3. No Member of the Legislative Council shall be asked during the period of membership or subsequently , to testify on any subject related to his actions or statements or information he obtained as a result of his membership on the Council, unless he agrees to do so, and as per the prior consent of the Council. 4. No penalty measures shall be taken against any Member of Legislative Council, unless the Member is found red-handed “Flagratne delicto”. However, the Council shall be notified immediately about the measures taken against the Member, so that the Council shall take the proper action in this regard. The Office of the Council shall assume this responsibility if the Council is not convened. 5. The Member of the Legislative Council shall not relinquish his immunity without a prior permission of the Council. Immunity shall not be dropped after ceasing to be a Member of the Council, within the limits which have been included during the membership period.

Article 41

1. The Member of the Legislative Council shall not exploit his membership on Council, in any other type of private business, or in any manner whatsoever. 2. Every Member of the Legislative Council shall present a financial statement for himself, his wife, his dependent “minor” children, detailing what they own in real estate, transferable property inside Palestine and abroad, and their debts, to the Speaker of the Council. This declaration “Statement” shall be kept in a sealed and classified envelope at the Supreme Court of Justice, and shall not be disclosed unless approved by the Court, and within the limits it allows.

Article 42

The Member of the Legislative Council shall receive a monthly salary determined by law.

Article 43

Each Member of the Council shall have the right to: 1. Submit to the Executive Authority all necessary and legitimate requests, which will enable him exercise his parliamentary duties. Propose laws. Rejected proposals shall not be resubmitted within the same term of the period of the year. 2. Address inquiries and interrogatories to the Government or to any Minister, or alike. Interrogatories shall be discussed only seven days after submission, unless the addressee agrees to reply promptly or within a shorter notice. However, this period can be curtailed to three days in case of urgency as per the approval of the President of the National Authority.

Article 44

1. Ten Members of the Council may submit a request after the interrogation, to withdraw confidence from the Government or from any Minister. However, voting on such request shall be at least three days after submission. A decision shall be issued by a majority vote of the Council’s Members. 2. The withdraw of confidence shall result in terminating the term of the party in whom confidence was lost.

Article 45

The Council may form special committee, or entrust one of its committees to conduct information-gathering and fact-finding in any public matter, or in any public institution.

Article 46

The Legislative Council shall approve the General Development Plan. The law shall determine the way to prepare and present the Plan to the Council.

Article 47

The law shall regulate the specific procedures regarding the preparation and approval of the general budget, as well as the attached budgets, developmental budgets, the budgets of public institutions and assemblies, and the budget of every project in which the government’s investment comprises 50% or more of its capital. The law shall also regulate the spending of funds appropriated in these budgets.

Article 48

Taking into consideration the provisions of Article (81) of this Basic Law: 1. The Government shall present the budget proposal to the Legislative Council at least two months before the beginning of the fiscal year. 2. The Legislative Council shall convene a special session to discuss the annual budget proposal. It either ratifies it prior the start of the new fiscal year, or send it back to the government in a period not exceeding one month from the date of receipt. The returned budget shall include the Council’s comments, in order to complete the necessary requirements and return it to the Council for approval. 3. Voting on the general budget, in the Council, shall be chapter by chapter. 4. Transfer of funds among the budget’s chapters is not permitted, unless there is an agreement between the Legislative Council and the Executive Authority in this concern.

Article 49

The final accounts of the National Authority’s budget shall be presented to the Legislative Council no later than one year from the end of the fiscal year. The Council shall vote on the final accounts chapter by chapter.

Chapter Four – The Executive Authority

Article 50

The Executive Authority is the highest executive and administrative tool, which shoulders the responsibility of developing a program that will be approved by the Legislative Authority for implementation. The President of the National Authority, and the Council of Ministers shall assume the responsibility of the Executive Authority in the manner prescribed in this Basic Law.

First: The President

Article 51

The President of the Executive Authority shall be elected in a general and direct elections by the Palestinian People in accordance with the Palestinian Election Law.

Article 52

Before assuming office, the President shall take the following oath before the Legislative Council, and in the presence of the Chief of the Palestinian National Council, the Chief of Supreme Court “I swear to Allah Almighty to be faithful to the Homeland and to its sacred places, and to the people and its national heritage, and to respect the Constitutional system and the law, and to safeguard the interests of the Palestinian people completely, as Allah is my witness”.

Article 53

The term of the Presidency shall be the Transitional Phase, after which the President shall be elected in accordance with law.

Article 54

1. The office of the President shall be considered vacant in any of the following cases: 1st. Death 2nd. Resignation submitted to the Palestinian Legislative Council if accepted by two thirds of its Members. 3rd. Considered legally incompetent, as per a ruling issued by the Supreme Constitutional Court, and subsequently approved by two thirds of the Palestinian Legislative Council. 2. If the office of the President of the National Authority becomes vacant due to any of the above cases, the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council shall assume the powers and duties of the Presidency of the National Authority, temporarily for a period not exceeding (60) sixty days, during which free and direct elections to choose a new president shall take place in accordance with the Palestinian Elections Law.

Article 55

The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Palestinian Forces.

Article 56

The President of the National Authority shall appoint and terminate the services of the National Authority’s representatives at foreign countries, international organizations and foreign agencies. Further, the President shall accept the credentials of foreign representatives at the Palestinian National Authority.

Article 57

1. The President of the National Authority shall promulgate laws after being ratified by the Palestinian Legislative Council within (30) thirty days from referring them to him. Otherwise, the President shall return the laws to the Council within the same specified period, together with his comments and objections, or else, the laws shall be considered approved and promulgated immediately in the official gazette. 2. If the President of the National Authority returns the proposed law within the deadline and conditions mentioned in the previous paragraph, and the Council debates it and passes it again with a two third majority, the proposed law shall be considered ratified and shall be published in the official gazette.

Article 58

The President of the National Authority and the Council of Ministers shall have the right to propose laws, issue regulations, and take the necessary actions to execute laws.

Article 59

The President of the National Authority has the right to pardon or commute sentences. General amnesty, however, shall not be granted except through a law.

Article 60

The President of the National Authority shall have the right in exceptional cases, which can not be postponed, and while the Legislative Council is not in session, to issue decisions and decrees that have the power of law. However, the decisions issued shall be presented to the Legislative Council in the first session convened after their issuance, otherwise they will cease to have the power of law. If these decisions were presented as mentioned above, but were not approved, then they shall cease to have the power of law.

Article 61

The President’s salary, allowances and compensations shall be determined by a law.

Second: The Council of Ministers

Article 62

The President of the National Authority shall appoint Ministers, remove them, and accept their resignations and presides over the meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Article 63

The President shall be assisted by the Council of Ministers in the performance of his duties and the exercise of his powers in the manner explained in this Basic Law.

Article 64

1. After the selection of the member of the Council of Ministers by the President of the National Authority, he shall present them to the Legislative Council in the first session for a vote of confidence, after listening to the Ministerial statement, that defines the Government’s policy and program. 2. If an absolute majority of the Council does not grant the vote of confidence to all of the Cabinet members, or to any one or more of them, the President of the National Authority shall present a replacement in the next session provided that this is completed within two form the date of the first session. 3. In the case of Cabinet changes, or addition of one Minister, or filling a vacant portfolio for any reason, the new Ministers shall be presented to the Legislative Council in the first session it convenes for a vote of confidence. 4. No Minister shall assume the duties of his position before obtaining the confidence of the Legislative Council.

Article 65

The Cabinet shall comprise of a number of Ministers not to exceed Nineteen Ministers. The decision of appointment shall determine the Ministry that each Minister shall be responsible for.

Article 66

Before assuming their offices, the Ministers shall take the oath stipulated in Article (52) of this Basic law before the President of the National Authority.

Article 67

1. Every Minister in the Cabinet must submit a financial report for himself, his wife, and dependent “minor” children, detailing what they own in real estate, transferable property, stocks, bonds, cash money, and debts, whether inside Palestine or abroad, to the President of the National Authority, who shall make the necessary arrangements to keep its secrecy . Such information shall be kept in a confidential manner, and will be disclosed only by a permit issued by the Supreme Court when necessary. 2. No Minister may purchase or lease any government property, or from any legal or juridical personality, or to have a financial interest in any contract concluded and with governmental or administrative entities, nor may they, during their terms in office, be Board Members in any company, or practice commerce or any other profession, or receive a salary or any other financial rewards or remuneration from any person in any capacity, other than the one salary determined for the Minister and its allowances.

Article 68

1. Ministers are responsible to the President of the National Authority, each within his jurisdiction, and for the actions of his Ministry. 2. The Council of Ministry is jointly responsible before the Legislative Council.

Article 69

The President of the National Authority has the right to refer any Minister to investigation as a result of crimes committed by him during, or due to, the performance of his duties.

Article 70

1) Any accused Minister shall be suspended from performing his duties immediately upon the issuance of indictment. The suspension of a Minister’s duties shall not prevent the continuation of the investigation and follow-up procedures against him. 2) The Attorney General, or whoever represents him from the prosecutor’s offices shall assume the investigation and indictment procedures. A Minister’s trial shall be conducted before the concerned court, and shall follow the provisions and rules prescribed in the penalty law and in the criminal procedures law. 3) The above provisions shall apply to Deputy Ministers, Assistant Ministers, and the like as well.

Article 71

The President of the National Authority may request a vote of confidence for the Cabinet , for a Minister, or for some Ministers, before the Legislative Council. A vote of no-confidence requires and absolute majority of the Council’s Members, and shall result in terminating the duties of those who lost confidence.

Article 72

The Council of Ministers shall have the following functions: 1) Devise the general policies within the limits of its jurisdiction “functions”, and in light of the Ministerial program approved by the Legislative Council. 2) Execute the general policies set forth by the concerned Palestinian authorities “entities”. 3) Prepare the general budget to be presented to the Legislative Council. 4) Prepare the administrative apparatus, develop its structures, and provide it with the necessary means, as well as supervising and following it up. 5) Follow up the implementation of laws, and ensuring compliance with their provisions, and taking necessary actions in this regard. 6) Follow up the performance of different Ministries and all other components of the administrative apparatus, their duties and functions, and coordinating between them. 7) Discussing the proposals and policies of different Ministries concerning the implementation of their functions. 8) Any other functions entrusted to it by this Basic Law, or by any other law or resolution.

Article 73

Every Minister shall exercise the following powers and functions within his Ministry: 1) Proposing the general policy of his Ministry and supervising its implementation after approval. 2) Supervise the conduct of business and affairs within his Ministry, and issue the necessary instruction thereof. 3) Implement the general budget within the funds appropriated for his Ministry. 4) Propose bills and legislation related to his Ministry and present them to the Council of Ministers. 5) Delegate some of his powers to the Deputy Minister, or other senior officers in his Ministry within law.

Article 74

Every Minister shall submit detailed reports to the Council of Ministers on the activities, policies, plans and achievements of his Ministry in comparison with the objectives specified for his Ministry within the framework of the General Plan, and on his Ministry’s proposals and recommendations concerning its future policies. These reports shall be submitted regularly every three months, to give the Council of Ministers sufficient information about the activities and policies of each Ministry.

Third: Security Forces and Police

Article 75

1) Security Forces and the Police are a regular force. It is the armed force in the country, its function is to defend the country, serve people, protect the community and maintain public order, security and morals. This force performs its duties within the limits prescribed by law with complete respect to rights and freedom. 2) Security Forces and the Police shall be regulated by law.

Fourth: Local Administration

Article 76

The country shall be organized, by law, into local administrative units enjoying juridical personality. Each unit shall have a council elected directly as prescribed by law. The law shall determine the jurisdiction “functions” of the administrative units, their financial resources, their relations with central authority, and their role in the preparation and implementation of development plans. Further, the law shall determine the aspect of oversight over these units and their various activities. Demographic, geographical, economical, and political parameters shall be taken into consideration at the time of dividing the country administratively, to provide for the integrity and unity of soil and interests of the country.

Fifth: Public Administration

Article 77

Appointment of all public officials and government staff, and conditions of employment shall be in accordance with law.

Article 78

All affairs related to civil service shall be regulated by law. The Civil Service Bureau shall coordinate with the concerned governmental entities to upgrade and improve public administration. Further, its point of view shall be taken into consideration upon drafting legislation, laws, and regulations which deal with public administration and its staff.

Sixth: General Finance

Article 79

Public taxes and duties shall not be imposed, amended, and repealed except through law. No one shall be totally or partially exempted from paying these taxes, except in circumstances prescribed by law.

Article 80

The law shall state the provisions concerning the collection of public funds and the procedures for spending therefrom.

Article 81

The beginning and the end of the fiscal year, and the general budget shall be regulated by law. If the general budget was not approved by the beginning of the new fiscal year, expenditure shall continue on the basis of monthly allocation of 1/12 of the fiscal year’s budget.

Article 82

1) All revenues received, including taxes, duties, loans, grants, and profits accrued to the Palestinian National Authority from managing its property or activities, shall be paid to the Public Treasury. No part of the Public Treasury funds shall be allocated or spent for any purpose whatsoever except in accordance with the law. 2) The Palestinian National Authority may form a strategic financial reserve to encounter fluctuations and emergency situations in accordance with law.

Article 83

Public loans shall be enacted by law. It is not allowed to engage in a project that requires spending funds from the Public Treasury during the next period unless approved by the Legislative Council.

Article 84

1) The law shall regulate the special rules related to the monetary authority, banks, financial papers market, foreign exchange and insurance companies, and all financial and credit institutions. 2) The Governor of the Monetary Authority shall be appointed per a resolution issued by the President of the National Authority, and endorsed by the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Article 85

The law shall determine the rules and special procedures for granting contracts related to the utilization of natural resources and public facilities. The law shall also explain the ways of dealing with state-owned real estate and other public and legal characters, or the rules and procedures organizing them.

Article 86

The law shall determine the rules for granting wages, salaries, compensations, subsidies, and rewards incurring on the state’s treasury. The law shall also regulate the entities responsible for their implementation. Further, no exceptional funds shall be spent unless within the limits specified legally.

Article 87

A Financial and Administrative Auditing Bureau shall be established to provide financial and administrative oversight on all entities of the Executive Authority, including collection of public revenues, and spending therefrom within the limits of the general budget. The Bureau shall submit to the President of the National Authority, and to the Legislative Council an annual report – or upon request – about its works and observations. The Chief of the Financial and Administrative Bureau shall be appointed through a decision issued by the President of the National Authority, and endorsed by the Legislative Council.

Chapter Five – The Judicial Authority

Article 88

The Judicial Authority shall be independent, and shall be assumed by the different types and level of courts. The structure, jurisdiction, and rulings of the courts shall be in accordance with law. The rulings shall be announced and executed in the name of the Palestinian Arab People.

Article 89

Judges shall be independent, and shall not be subject to any authority other than the authority of law while exercising their duties. No other authority may interfere in the judiciary or in the justice affairs.

Article 90

1) Appointment, transfer, secondment, delegation, promotion, and questioning of judges shall be as prescribed in the Independence of Judiciary Law. 2) Judges can not be dismissed and their services can not be terminated unless as stipulated in the Independence of Judiciary Law.

Article 91

A Supreme Judicial Council shall be created. The law shall specify its structure, jurisdiction, and operating rules. The Council shall be consulted about draft laws which regulate any affairs of the Judicial Authority to include Public Prosecution.

Article 92

1) Sharia’ affairs and personal status shall be assumed by Sharia’ and religious courts in accordance with law. 2) Military Courts shall be established by special law. Such courts shall not have any jurisdiction beyond military affairs.

Article 93

Administrative Courts may be established by a law to look through administrative disputes and disciplinary claims. The other jurisdictions of such court, and procedures followed before it shall be determined by law.

Article 94

1) A High Constitutional Court shall be established by law to ensure: One) The constitutionality of laws, regulations, rules, and others. Two) Interpretation of Basic Laws and legislative texts Three) Settle jurisdiction disputes which arise between judicial entities and administrative entities that have judicial jurisdiction. 2) The law shall determine the way the High Constitutional Court is structured and composed, operating procedures to be followed, and the impact resultant from its rulings.

Article 95

The Supreme Court shall assume temporarily all duties assigned to the administrative court and to the High Constitutional Court, unless they are within the jurisdiction of other judicial entities in accordance with applicable laws

Article 96

Courts hearings shall be public unless a court decides to make them secret due to considerations related to public order or public morals. In all cases, judgment “sentence” shall be pronounced in a public hearing.

Article 97

Judicial sentences shall be implemented. Abstention or suspension of implementation in any manner shall be considered a crime that qualifies for imprisonment, or dismissal from position, if the accused individual is a public official or servant. The Plaintiff may file his case directly at the concerned court, and the National Authority shall guarantee a full compensation for him.

Public Prosecution

Article 98

1. The Attorney General shall be appointed through a decision issued by the President of the National Authority, based on a recommendation submitted by the Supreme Judicial Council, and endorsement of the Legislative Council. 2. The Attorney General shall handle and assume public cases in the name of the Palestinian Arab People. The jurisdiction, functions and duties of the Attorney General shall be determined by law.

Article 99

1) The jurisdiction, functions, structure, and composition of the Public Prosecution shall be regulated by law. 2) The appointment, transfer, removal, and questioning of members of Public Prosecution shall be determined by law.

Article 100

Execution sentence issued by any court shall not be implemented unless endorsed by the President of the Palestinian Executive Authority. Chapter Six – Rules of the State of Emergency

Article 101

1) The President of the National Authority may declare a state of emergency by a decree when there is a threat to national security caused by war, invasion, armed insurrection, or at a time of natural disaster for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days. 2) The emergency state may be extended for another period of thirty (30) days by securing the approval of two thirds of the Legislative Council. 3) The decree declaring a state of emergency shall state its purpose, the territory to which it applies, and its duration. 4) The Legislative Council shall have the right to review all or some of the procedures which have been implemented during the emergency state at the first session to be convened after the announcement of the state of emergency, or in the extension session whichever comes earlier, and to conduct the necessary questioning in this regard.

Article 102

It is not allowed, when declaring a state of emergency, to impose restrictions on the basic rights and freedoms, except to the level that is necessary to achieve the objective stated in the decree of the state of emergency

Article 103

Any arrest resultant from the declaration of emergency situation shall be subject to the following minimum requirements: 1) Any detention done in accordance with the decree of the emergency situation, shall be reviewed by the Attorney General or by the concerned court during a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days from the date of detention. 2) The detained “arrested” individual shall have the right to appoint a lawyer of his choice.

Article 104

The Palestinian Legislative Council shall not be dissolved or suspended during the emergency situation, nor shall the provisions of this chapter be suspended.

Article 105

All provisions which regulate the emergency states implemented in Palestine prior the implementation of this Basic Law shall be canceled, to include the mandate civil defense regulations issued in 1945.

Chapter Seven – General and Transitional Provisions

Article 106

The provisions of this Basic Law shall apply during the interim period, and can be extended until the implementation of the new constitution of the Palestinian State.

Article 107

Laws shall be promulgated in the name of the Palestinian Arab People, and shall be published immediately in the official gazette . These laws shall come into force 30 days from the date of their publication unless the laws state otherwise.

Article 108

The provisions of laws shall apply only to matters occurring as from the date on which they came into force. However, it can be stated otherwise in articles that are not punitive.

Article 109

Law, regulations and decisions in force in Palestine before the implementation of this law, shall remain in force to the extent that they do not conflict with the provisions of this Basic Law, until they are amended or repealed in accordance with law.

Article 110

Everything in contradiction with the provisions of this Basic Law shall be repealed.

Article 111

The provisions of this Basic Law shall not be amended except with two thirds majority of the Members of the Legislative Council.

Article 112

This Basic Law shall be effective as of publishing it in the official gazette.


Facts about the Basic Law

The Palestinian Basic Law is to function as a temporary constitution for the Palestinian Authority until the establishment of an independent state and a permanent constitution for Palestine can be achieved.

The Basic Law was passed by the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1997 and ratified by President Yasser Arafat in 2002. It has subsequently been amended twice; in 2003 the political system was changed to introduce a prime minister. In 2005 it was amended to conform to the new Election Law. The 2003 reform was comprehensive and affected the whole nature of the Palestinian political system, whereas the 2005 amendment was only minor and affected only a few paragraphs.

A parallel effort has been made to draft a permanent Palestinian constitution for an independent state, but this was shelved in favor of amending the existing Basic Law.

About this site

This website presents a collection of various drafts and amendments related to the Basic Law and other constitutional texts that have been compiled from various other sources.

You can also expect to find links to news items and reports that are of relevance to Palestinian constitutional law, the electoral framework, political reform and the PA branches of government.

The website was created by the Norwegian journalists Erik Bolstad and Tonje M. Viken in February 2008. The site is a private initiative and has no affiliation to any organizations or authorities.

All external links are purely for information purposes and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors of this site.

Information and contact details.