Palestinian Basic Law
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The Palestinian Basic Law

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

Abbas overhauls security forces by decree

With U.S. support, President Mahmoud Abbas is overhauling Palestinian security forces by decree. About 30 000 security jobs will be shed, according to Reuters. The plain-clothes Preventive Security Forces are given broad powers, and many of the changes have been carried out with little public accountability.

After the breakdown of the national unity cabinet and the paralysis of the Hamas-led Legislative Council, Abbas and the cabinet has issued a string of orders and decrees on a number of issues. Critics are concerned at increasing tendencies of abuse by forces in the Fatah-dominated West Bank as in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens’ Rights has warned that the state of lawlessness has shifted to a police state.

Read: Reuters, “EXCLUSIVE-By decree, Abbas overhauls his security forces,” 20 June 2008,

Read: Reuters, “FACTBOX-Abbas grants broad powers to force reviled by Hamas,” 20 June 2008, ¬†

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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.