Palestinian Basic Law
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The Palestinian Basic Law

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

Hamas: New penal codes not ratified

According to recent media reports, Hamas lawmakers have allegedly ratified part of a new legal code based on Islamic teacings. These reports have now been rejected by head of the legal committee for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza. Punishments under the new law reportedly included the death penalty, ransoms, imprisonment, fines, confiscation and dismissal from a place of employment. According to PLC member Ahmad Abu Halabiyya, the topic had been discussed in a workshop, not in the PLC.

Read: Maan, “Hamas denies ratification of new penal codes based on Islamic teachings,” 24 December 2008,

Read: Nathan J. Brown, “Guest Post: Brown, Hamas in Gaza: The Islamic Law That Wasn’t,” Abu Aardvark – a blog by Marc Lynch, 27 December 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.