Palestinian Authority Government of June 2002

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The Palestinian Authority Government of June 2002 was a government of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) from June to September 2002, headed by Yasser Arafat, the President of the Palestinian National Authority.

A number of Ministers resigned on 11 September 2002, facing a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.[1] The next Government was largely equal to the June Government.

Background[edit]

Pursuant to the Oslo Accords, the authority of the PA Government is limited to some civil rights of the Palestinians in the West Bank Areas A and B and in the Gaza Strip, and to internal security in Area A and in Gaza.

While Israel since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 continued establishing and expanding settlements throughout the Palestinian territories (including in Gaza until 2005) and refused to withdraw as stipulated in the Oslo Accords,[2][3] President Arafat was reluctant to transfer power, and opposition was growing from within and outside his own party.

After the collapse of the Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations, the Second Intifada broke out and in an Israeli military operation in April 2002, Israel re-occupied all West Bank areas where the PA was supposed to exercise limited self-government. The Palestinian Authority infrastructure was largely destroyed[4][5][6] and in June 2002, after further extensive destruction, President Arafat was held hostage in his Mukataa in Ramallah for the second time within a few months. In June 2002, the Israeli Government definitely approved the West Bank barrier, largely built within the Palestinian territories and endangering the contiguity of the future Palestinian state.

Timeline[edit]

Prelude to the Government[edit]

On 16 May 2002, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) had presented Arafat a list of recommended changes that would radically overhaul the way the Palestinian Authority operates, and it demanded presidential and legislative elections within a year. The PLC recommended that Arafat's current government resign and that Arafat appoint a smaller government within 45 days. It also called on him to sign the Basic Law. In his response, President Arafat said that no elections would be held until Israel fully withdraws from the territories in the region where the Oslo Accords call for full or partial control by the Palestinians (Areas A and B). [7] On 29 May 2002, however, he signed the Basic Law, the final draft of which already had been approved by the Legislative Council in 1997.

Since the establishment in 1996 of the first PA government approved by an elected Parliament, there had not been rules about the term of the Government. Ministers were just appointed and dismissed by President Arafat, who's own term was the interim period of the Oslo Accords. Also, the 2002 Basic Law itself only applied to the interim period as determined in the Oslo Accords. According to the Law, the Legislative Council (who should approve the Government) as well as the President of the Palestinian Authority (who should appoint the Ministers) were envisioned to remain in function until the end of the interim period,[8] which had been ended on 5 July 1999. When Arafat on 29 May 2002 signed the 2002 Basic Law, the interim period had thus already been ended and the Government of June 2002 still not been appointed.

Formation of the Cabinet[edit]

Early June 2002, Arafat intended to announce a new, smaller Cabinet. He asked the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas to join the Government, but all refused. [9] While Arafat was building a new Cabinet, the Israeli army raided Ramallah and started a new siege on Arafat's headquarters. On 11 June, the siege was strengthened with the support of US President George W. Bush. Then, the first meeting of the new Cabinet was cancelled.[10]

End of the Cabinet[edit]

Members of Fatah demanded the dismissal of some Cabinet ministers seen as corrupt or incompetent. On 11 September 2002, Arafat would present a new Cabinet to Parliament for approval, but a group of Fatah lawmakers threatened to vote against the Cabinet, despite pressure by their leader. The Fatah representatives were willing to limit their vote to five new ministers only. As a compromise, Arafat announced by Presidential decree presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem to hold on 20 January 2003. As a consequence, the current Cabinet would only be a temporary one. Members of the Cabinet submitted their resignations and the vote on the new Cabinet Arafat initially wanted to present was canceled. According to Palestinian Law, the Parliament had to be dissolved 90 days before the elections.[1]

A reshuffled temporary cabinet was approved, with the intention to remain until new elections would have been held. Six ministers left the Government. The Interior, the Justice and the Health Minister were replaced with new members. The total number of Ministries was decreased with one. The Telecommunication Ministry was merged with the Transportation Ministry of Mitri Abu Eita. The Ministries of Civil Affairs and of Youth and Sports were replaced with the two new Ministries Orient House Director and Prisoners Affairs.[11]

New elections, however, did not take place. The new Cabinet remained in function until the 2003 Basic Law came in force in March 2003 and the political system was changed. Also, the Parliament was not dissolved.

Members of the Government[edit]

June to September 2002 [12]

Minister Office Party
0 Yasser Arafat President of "Council of Ministers" Fatah
1 Salam Fayyad Finance Independent
2 Abdel Razzak al-Yahya Interior Independent
3 Yasser Abed Rabbo Information and Culture Palestine Democratic Union
4 Nabil Shaath Planning and International Cooperation Fatah
5 Na'im Abu al-Hummus Education Fatah
6 Intissar al-Wazir Social Affairs and Prisoners Fatah
7 Nabeel Kassis Tourism and Antiquities Independent
8 Ibrahim Dughme Justice Independent
9 [Saeb Erekat]] Local Government Fatah
10 Azzam al-Ahmad Housing and Public Work Fatah
11 Maher al-Masri Trade, Economy and Industry Fatah
12 Abdel Rahman Hamad Natural Resources Palestine Democratic Union
13 Imad Falougi Transportation and Telecommunication
14 Rafiq al-Natsheh Agriculture Fatah
15 Jamal Tarifi Civil Affairs Fatah
16 Riyad Za'noun Health Fatah
17 Ghassan Khatib Labor Palestinian People's Party
18 Mitri Abu Eita Transportation Fatah
19 Abdul Aziz Shahin Supplies Independent
20 Ali al-Qawasmi Youth and Sports Independent
* An additional waqf Minister was to be announced, but was apparently never appointed. A waqf Minister did not appear in the next list of Cabinet members, nor in the list of leaving Ministers.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Arafat accepts resignation of ministers, sets date for presidential and parliamentary elections. Al Bawaba, 11 September 2002
  2. ^ Arafat Accuses Israel Government of 'War′. Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times, 29 August 1996.
    "Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, visibly angry, accused the Israeli government Wednesday of having "declared war" on Palestinians through recent actions such as demolishing Arab-owned buildings in Jerusalem and expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank...Since his election, for example, Netanyahu has delayed acting on Israel's existing commitment to withdraw its troops from the West Bank town of Hebron."
  3. ^ Palestinian Authority won't free militant. CNN, 3 June 2002.
    Last section: "In East Jerusalem, guards were protecting workmen who began clearing land Monday for 100 apartments on a site near the southern Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. The Israeli government had pledged not to begin any new settlements in the West Bank or Gaza but has said Jerusalem is an exception."
  4. ^ Damage to Palestinian Libraries and Archives during the Spring of 2002. University of Pittsburgh, 16 January 2003
  5. ^ The Real Aim. Uri Avnery, RamallahOnline, 27 April 2002. Some pictures on: Destruction of records key element in Israeli action. Jim Stone, 3 May 2002
  6. ^ Report of Secretary-General on recent events in Jenin, other Palestinian cities, Press Release. UN, 1 August 2002 (doc.nr. SG2077)
  7. ^ Arafat: No elections until Israel pulls out. Rula Amin, CNN, 17 May 2002
  8. ^ 2002 Basic Law, 29 May 2002.
    Article 34: The term of this Council shall be the interim period; Article 53: The term of the Presidency shall be the Transitional Phase, after which the President shall be elected in accordance with law; Article 62: The President of the National Authority shall appoint Ministers, remove them, and accept their resignations and presides over the meeting of the Council of Ministers; Article 65: The Cabinet shall comprise of a number of Ministers not to exceed Nineteen
  9. ^ Arafat asks Tenet to pressure Israel, aide says. CNN, 4 June 2002. See last part of article
  10. ^ Bush abandons Arafat as Israeli tanks again besiege his HQ. Anton La Guardia and Alan Philps, The Telegraph, 11 June 2002
  11. ^ PNA Government, Jerusalem Media and Community Centre. The link is given on this page.
  12. ^ PNA Government June - October 2002, Jerusalem Media and Community Centre
  13. ^ PNA Government, Jerusalem Media and Community Centre. The link is given on this page.