Palestine 2003 Constitution (reviewed 2005)


In the Name of God, the Merciful and the Compassionate.

The continuous attachment of the Arab Palestinian people to the land of their fathers and forefathers, on which this people has historically lived, is a fact that has been expressed in the Declaration of Independence, issued by the Palestine National Council. The strength of this attachment is confirmed by its consistency over time and place, by keeping faith with and holding onto national identity, and in the realization of wondrous accomplishments of struggle. The organic relationship between the Palestinian people, their history and their land has confirmed itself in their unceasing effort to prompt the world to recognize the rights of the Arab Palestinian people and their national entity, on equal footing with other nations.

The birth of the Palestinian National Authority in the national homeland of Palestine, the land of their forefathers, comes within the context of continuous and vigorous struggle, during which the Palestinian people witnessed thousands of their precious children sacrificed as martyrs, injured persons and prisoners of war, all in order to achieve their people’s clear national rights, the foremost of which are the right of return, the right to self-determination and the right to establish an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as a capital, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole, legitimate representative of the Arab Palestinian people wherever they exist.

Within the framework of the interim period, resulting in the Declaration of Principles Agreement, the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority with its three pillars – the legislative, executive and judicial branches – became among the most urgent of national missions. The establishment of the Palestinian Legislative Council, through free and direct general elections, made the adoption of a Basic Law suitable for the interim period a necessary foundation upon which to organize the mutual relationship between the government and the people. It is a first step on the way to determining the distinguishing characteristics of a civil society capable of achieving its independence. At the same time, it is a basic foundation upon which to enact unifying legislation and law for the Palestinian national homeland.

This Basic Law has established a firm foundation, representing the collective conscience of our people, including its spiritual components, its national faith and its nationalist loyalty. The titles of the Basic Law include a group of modern constitutional rules and principles that address public and personal rights and liberties in a manner that achieves justice and equality for all, without discrimination. Further, they ensure the rule of law, strike a balance between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and draw lines between their respective jurisdictions in a manner that ensures independence to each of them while coordinating their roles to achieve a high national interest that will serve as a guide to all.

The enactment of this temporary Basic Law for a transitional and interim period constitutes a fundamental step towards the realization of the firm national and historical rights of the Arab Palestinian people. It shall not in any way whatsoever abrogate or cancel their right to continue to strive to achieve their rights of return and self-determination, including the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem (al-Quds al-Sharif) as its capital, which is the first shrine and the third mosque, to which the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, traveled by night, in the land of the nativity of Jesus, may peace be upon him.

The provisional character of the Basic Law shall not abrogate the right of any Palestinian, wherever residing, to exercise equal rights with his/her fellow citizens on the soil of the homeland.

This temporary Basic Law draws its strength from the will of the Palestinian people, their firm rights, their continuous struggle and the exercise of their democratic right – as represented in the election of the President of the Palestinian National Authority and the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council – to commence the organization and establishment of a sound, democratic and legislative life in Palestine. At the same time, the enactment and ratification of this law by the Legislative Council does spring from the fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization is the sole and legitimate representative of the Arab Palestinian people.