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Palestinian Legislative Council

Last modified: 2024-01-06 by ian macdonald
Keywords: palestinian legislative council |
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[Palestinian Legislative Council] image located by Esteban Rivera, 11 December 2023

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A Palestinian Legislative Council was established by the Egyptian government in the Gaza Strip in 1962, which lasted until it was disbanded by the Israeli authorities in 1967. The Council replaced the All-Palestine National Council (officially Palestinian National Council (PNC)), disbanded several years earlier. It was the legislative body of the All-Palestine Protectorate (1948-1959) convened in Gaza on October 1, 1948.
The council passed a series of resolutions culminating on October 1, 1948 with a declaration of independence over the whole of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital. An Egyptian Ministerial order dated June 1, 1948 declared that all laws in force during the Mandate would continue to be in force in the Gaza Strip. The PNC participants were 75-80 municipal and village leaders out of 150 invitees. The others could not attend because the Jordanian and Iraqi armies refused to permit delegates who resided in areas under their control. Though it claimed jurisdiction over the whole of the former Mandatory Palestine (British Mandate of Palestine 1922 – 1948), its effective jurisdiction was limited to the All-Palestine Protectorate, which came to be called the Gaza Strip.

In December 1948, just three months after the declaration, the All-Palestine Government was relocated to Cairo and was never allowed to return to Gaza, making it a government in exile. With a further resolution of the Arab League to put the Gaza Strip under the official protection of Egypt in 1952, the All-Palestine Government was gradually stripped of its authority. In 1953, the government was nominally dissolved, though the Palestinian Prime Minister, Hilmi Pasha, continued to attend Arab League meetings on its behalf. In 1959, the protectorate was de jure merged into the United Arab Republic, while de facto turning Gaza into a military occupation area of Egypt.

In 1957, the Basic Law of Gaza established a Palestinian Legislative Council that could pass laws which were given to the High Administrator-General for approval.

In June 1959, Gamal Abdel Nasser officially annulled the All-Palestine Government by decree, reasoning that the All-Palestine Government had failed to advance the Palestinian cause. In addition, Nasser proclaimed his intention to work towards the formation of a new Palestinian government that would fight for the "liberation of all Palestine". This plan met the opposition of the Jordanian government, that held at that time the West Bank under its control. At that time, Amin al-Husayni moved from Egypt to Lebanon and the Gaza Strip became directly administered by Egypt.

The legislative council had 22 elected members in 1962, when elections were held.

In March 1962 a Constitution for the Gaza Strip was issued confirming the role of the Legislative Council. Egyptian administration came to an end in June 1967 when the Gaza Strip was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War.

The All-Palestine Protectorate relied entirely on the Egyptian government for funding and on UNRWA to relieve the plight of the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. In reality, during most of its existence the All-Palestine Protectorate was under de facto Egyptian administration, though Egypt never made any claim to or annexed any Palestinian territory. Egypt did not offer the Gazan Palestinians citizenship. Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and Egypt were issued All-Palestine passports, and those living in the Gaza Strip were not permitted to move freely into Egypt. However, these passports were only recognized by six Arab countries.

The "new" Palestinian Legislative Council met for the first time on March 7, 1996. Under the "Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" (informally known as "Oslo II Accord", signed on September 28, 1995 in Washington D.C.), the powers and responsibilities of the PLC are restricted to civil matters and internal security in Area A of the West Bank and Gaza, while in Area B they are restricted to civil affairs with security matters being under the control of the Israel Defense Forces. In Area C, Israel has full control.

The Council building was destroyed on November 15, 2023 during an Israeli air strike (and subsequent occupation by elements of the Golani Brigade) as part of "Operation Swords of Iron" during the Israeli response to the "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood".

Until the First Intifada (1987-1993), Fatah was the sole dominating party in the Palestinian political arena, including the PLO. In 1987, Hamas arose as a resistance movement against what they consider the Israeli occupation. Following the Oslo Accords, the PLO, of which Fatah still was the dominant member, formally denounced armed resistance.

After the Second Intifada (2000-2005) Hamas gained enormous popularity among the Palestinian people, and further events, such as Israel’s August 2005 disengagement from Gaza), Hamas’s 2006 electoral success during the Palestinian legislative elections on January 25, 2006 and finally the Battle of Gaza (2007) (Hamas takeover of Gaza), together with the June 2008 Israel-Hamas ceasefire agreement, enabled Hamas to strengthen its military capabilities.

So there used to be only one Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). However after the takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas on June 14, 2007, Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and appointed Salam Fayyad Prime Minister. Though the new Ramallah-based Palestinian government's authority was claimed to extend to both the Palestinian territories, in effect it became limited to the West Bank, as Hamas did not recognize the dismissal and continued to rule the Gaza Strip. Both administrations – Abbas' Fatah government in Ramallah and the Hamas government in Gaza – regarded themselves as the sole legitimate government of the Palestinian National Authority. The international community, however, recognized the Ramallah administration as the legitimate government.

But after the June 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza the Palestinian Legislative Council (Gaza Strip) was established, exercising full control of the Gaza Strip. Following the Hamas–Fatah split in 2007, the PLC ceased to function, with the President issuing laws by decree. Elections for the third PLC were scheduled for May 2021, but was indefinitely postponed.

Despite the formation of the "unity government" in June 2014, right after the signing of the Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Agreement on April 23, 2014, on October 17, 2016 Hamas formed a de facto independent government and the final dissolution is considered to be April 14, 2019. This independent government of Gaza run by Hamas identifies the top (political) figures as Ismail Haniyeh, who at the time of the takeover in 2007 was the Prime Minister, dismissed by the President but ignored the call and continued to do so until February 2017, when he was replaced by Yahya Sinwar who has been elected as leader in Gaza for the 2017-2021 and 2021-2025 (consecutive) terms. On May 6, 2017, Haniyeh was elected chairman of Hamas's Political Bureau, replacing Khaled Mashaal dubbed as Gaza’s President; at the time, Haniyeh relocated from Gaza to Qatar. This is done in what they call internal (party) elections, which precede Palestinian general elections.
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For additional information go to Pal(estinian) PLC (West Bank government) (official website):

Esteban Rivera, 11 December 2023

The Flag

The flag as seen at is white with the logo centered.
Esteban Rivera, 11 December 2023

The Logo

[Central Elections Commission (Palestine)] image located by Esteban Rivera, 11 December 2023


[Central Elections Commission (Palestine)] image located by William Garrison, 27 December 2023


Logo on its building:
William Garrison, 27 December 2023

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