Palestinian Legislative Council

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Not to be confused with the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Palestinian Legislative Council
المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني
Al-Majlis al-Tashrī`iyy al-Filasṭīniyy
2nd Legislative Council
Palestinian National Authority COA.svg
Aziz DuwaikHamas
since 20061
Leader of the Opposition
Azzam al-AhmadFatah
since 20061
Seats 132
Political groups
     Hamas (74)
     Fatah (45)
     Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (3)
     Palestinian National Initiative (2)
     Third Way (2)
     Palestinian People's Party (1)
     Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (1)
     Independents (4)
Parallel Additional Member System
Last election
25 January 2006
Website (Gaza Strip government) (West Bank government)
1 On account of the current crisis, the operations of the Council have become confused. Duwaik was clearly Speaker until 2009, at which point he claimed the Presidency by virtue of the expiry of Mahmoud Abbas' term and the absence of new elections for President.

The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), also referred to as the Palestinian Parliament, is a unicameral body with 132 members, elected from 16 electoral districts of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank and Gaza. It served as the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority. The PLC has limited power and responsibilities, restricted to civil matters and internal security in Area A of the West Bank and in Gaza. The PLC was inaugurated for the first time on 7 March 1996 and served until the split of Hamas and Fatah in 2007; the PLC stopped its operation in the Gaza Strip entirely in 2009. With the possible reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah, it would be re-assembled to become the Parliament of the State of Palestine.

The Palestinian Legislative Council passed a new law in June 2005 increasing the number of members from 88 to 132, stipulating that half be elected under a system of proportional representation and half by plurality-at-large voting in traditional constituencies. The last parliamentary elections took place on 25 January 2006. The next election was expected to take place sometime in 2014 but has been delayed indefinitely.[1]

The Palestinian legislative council has been unable to meet and govern since 2007 due to the Fatah–Hamas conflict and the indefinite postponing of elections by the Fatah leadership.[2][dead link]

The emblem used for the Palestinian Legislative Council is referred to as the "Eagle of Saladin."


The Palestinian legislative council was created by the Oslo Accords and designed in accordance with the provisions of the Oslo II Accord, which dictated its composition, powers and responsibilities in detail.[3] Every single detail regarding the elections was led down in Annex II. Oslo II determines that only residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories may vote or be elected.[4]

The power and responsibilities of the PLC are limited to civil matters and internal security and public order (Article IX and XVII) and subject to review by Israel. The PLC is excluded from the negotiations process with Israel.[5][6]

The PLC was inaugurated for the first time on 7 March 1996.[5][6] The Council was predestined to replace the Arafat/Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority, which was established as a temporary organ, pending the inauguration of the Council.[7] The PA, however, never transferred its power.


From the beginning, the PLC was not able to function properly for a number of reasons:

  • Curtailment of the freedom of movement
    • In the months following the inauguration, members of the PLC (consisting of only Fatah members and moderate non-Fatah members) were subjected to restrictions on their freedom of movement by Israel, as reported by human rights group PCHR. They had to obtain a permit from the Israeli authorities for every single travel, valid for very short periods and sometimes refused.[6][8][9]
    • In 2001, the European Parliament noticed in a resolution that "The Palestinian Legislative Council is more often than not hindered from attending the sessions"[10]
  • Isolation from the outer world. Israel prevents official contacts with the outer world. Even the visit of members of the European Parliament to Gaza were denied.[11][12]
  • Israeli interference with the composition of the PLC. Politicians disliked by Israel were, and still are, prevented from political activities, often by arresting them, holding them in detention for lengthy periods and without charge or trial.[13] After the 2006 elections, Israel captured and detained high numbers of PLC members and ministers.[14][15] By selectively capturing and detaining or even killing Hamas members, Israel changed the composition of the PLC significantly.[16][17]
  • Splitting of the Palestinian Government into two entities after the 2007 Fatah–Hamas battle in Gaza. Since the separation, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not convened.[18]
  • Divided views of the Palestinians towards the validity of the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap for peace. This weakens the position of the PLC.

PLC buildings[edit]

PLC building, Ramallah
The destroyed Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza City in September 2009.

In the West Bank, the PLC has two main buildings, one in Ramallah in the Ministry of Education, housing the Assembly Chambers, and the main administrative office of the PLC in al-Bireh, adjacent to Ramallah.[19] In Gaza, the headquarters is in Rimal, Gaza City.

The PLC buildings have repeatedly been the target of Israeli attacks. In 2002, the headquarters in the West Bank were heavily damaged and equipment destroyed. In January 2009, the Gaza headquarters was bombed during Operation Cast Lead.[20][21][22] The attacks were condemned by the UN Goldstone Mission, who called it a "grave breach of extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly"[23] The building was destroyed in September 2009.

In 2000, the construction of a PLC building was started in Abu Dis, but the project was never finished. In late December 2003, Israel started the construction of a separation wall just few meters away from the planned headquarters, separating Abu Dis from East Jerusalem.[24]

1996 elections[edit]

On 20 January 1996, the first Palestinian Parliamentary elections were held. They were, however, boycotted by Hamas. Fatah won 62 of the 88 seats.

Ahmed Qurei, former Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority from 7 October 2003 to 26 January 2006.

2006 elections[edit]

Palestine COA (alternative).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Officeholders whose status is disputed are shown in italics

On 25 January 2006, the second elections took place. The European Union supplied election observers to "assess the whole election process, including the legal framework, the political environment and campaign, electoral preparations, voting and counting as well as the post-election period".[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Palestinian unity government sworn in by Mahmoud Abbas". BBC. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  2. ^ The largest and most influential Palestinian political party, Fatah, electing new leadership at the Wayback Machine (archived June 6, 2012). American Chronicle, 10 August 2009
  3. ^ Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 28 September 1995. Retrieved from the Knesset website December 2013
  4. ^ Annex II: Protocol Concerning Elections. Retrieved from the Knesset website December 2013
  5. ^ a b Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). MEDEA Institute. Retrieved December 2013
  6. ^ a b c The First Months of the Palestinian Legislative Council, May 1996, Chap. V. Constraints on the Council and its members; pp. 26-27, 31-32. National Democratic Institute (NDI), 1 May 1996. On [1].
  7. ^ Articles I and XXXI of the Oslo II Accord
  8. ^ Report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on the closure imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip. PCHR, 18 April 1996
  9. ^ Israeli Security Forces Prevent Palestinian Legislative Council Members from Travelling to Council Session in Nablus. PCHR, 12 June 1996
  10. ^ Resolution 1245 (2001). European Parliamentary Assembly, 26 April 2001
  11. ^ Press release. European Parliament, 9 December 2009
  12. ^ Israel denies EU delegation entry to Gaza. Ma'an News Agency, 25 October 2013
  13. ^ PCHR Condemns Storming ICRC Head Office and Detention of PLC Member Toutah and Former Minister Abu 'Arafa. PCHR, 24 January 2012
  14. ^ 1 Aug. 2007: Detention of senior Palestinian officials - wrongful infringement of fundamental rights. B'Tselem, 24 May 2011
  15. ^ Palestinian Legislative Council Members. Addameer, 2011
  16. ^ Israel seizes Hamas legislators. BBC, 29 June 2006
  17. ^ 25% of Palestinian MPs detained by Israel. Conal Urquhart, Guardian, 21 August 2006
  18. ^ Official: Reconvening parliament will delay unity talks. Ma'an News Agency, 2 February 2013
  19. ^ As of April 2002. Report on the Destruction to Palestinian Governmental Institutions in Ramallah Caused by IDF Forces Between March 29 and April 21, 2002 at the Wayback Machine (archived March 23, 2003), Chap. II, p. 14. Palestinian National Authority, 22 April 2002
  20. ^ Israel resumes bombardment of Gaza. Al Jazeera, 1 January 2009
  21. ^ Eleven children among 21 killed on sixth day of Israeli air assault. Ma'an, 1 January 2009
  22. ^ Abu Laila denounces Israeli shelling of Legislative Council building in Gaza at the Wayback Machine (archived August 28, 2010). DFLP, 3 January 2009.
  23. ^ Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, p.11., paragr. 32. Attacks by Israeli forces on government buildings and persons of the Gaza authorities,including police. United Nations, 25 September 2009.
  24. ^ Abu Dis: A Palestinian Town Tarred by the Israeli Wall. ARIJ & LRC, 4 February 2004
  25. ^ EU Election Observation Mission for Palestinian Legislative Council Elections. European Commission, press release IP/05/589, 23 May 2005

External links[edit]