Marriage in the Palestinian territories
Marriage in the Palestinian territories deals with the marriage law and customs in the Palestinian territories, which consist of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israeli marriage law applies to the settlers in Area C of the West Bank. Unless otherwise stated, the marriage law referred to in this article is Palestinian law.
Marriage law for Muslims in the Palestinian territories is governed by customary law, of the Hanafi school, which explicitly permits polygyny, which is the practice of a husband being permitted to have more than one wife. However, a woman can specify in the marriage contract whether or not her husband can take multiple wives during the couple's marriage, and if the husband does so in violation of that marriage contract then she is free to petition for a divorce. There are also the classical injunctions that a man must treat all co-wives equitably and provide them with separate dwellings, and a man must declare his social status in the marriage contract. Polyandry, whereby a wife has more than one husband, is not permitted.
Recognised Christian communities, as do other recognised communities, apply their own personal status laws for community members in their own tribunals, and do not permit polygamous unions.
Personal status issues of Muslims in the Palestinian territories are determined as follows: for Muslims in the West Bank - the 1976 Jordanian law continues to govern personal status issues; and for Muslims in the Gaza Strip - personal status law issued during the Egyptian administration of the Strip apply. Both of these laws permitted polygamous unions. Muslims in East Jerusalem, which is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, have recourse to the law applied in the Israeli shari`a system, which comprises the Ottoman Law of Family Rights as amended by Israeli legislation since 1948, and cannot form polygamous unions as Israeli law does not permit any polygamous unions.
In the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian-issued Law of Family Rights set puberty as the minimum age of marriage with no marriage allowed for a female aged under 9 or a male aged under 12. The Palestinian Qadi al-Quda issued an administrative decision in 1995 raising these ages to a minimum of 15 for the female and 16 for the male, as in the Jordanian law. All ages are calculated according to the lunar calendar. Marriage registration is mandatory but failure to register does not invalidate the marriage.
Work is reported to be proceeding on the text of a Palestinian personal status law.
- Palestinian Marriage Laws
- Laws of Jordan
- Jordanian Personal Status Law No 61/1976, promulgated 5 September 1976, and replaced the 1951 Jordanian Law of Family Rights.
- The Islamic law of personal status (1986), by Jamal J. Nasir. ISBN 1-85333-280-1. p 34.
- Law of Family Rights 1954 (Gaza Strip)
- Penal Law Amendment (Bigamy) Law, 5719-1959.
- The English Law of Bigamy in a Multi-Confessional Society: The Israel Experience by P Shifman.
- Administrative decision no. 78/1995 of the Qadi al-Quda (on the age of marriage- Gaza Strip)