West Bank local elections, 1976

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Local elections were held in the West Bank on 12 April 1976, on the order of Israeli military authorities and under the 1955 Jordanian municipal elections law. Only about 63,000 voters cast their ballot.[1] The result was a victory for supporters of the Palestine Liberation Organization.[2] Voter turnout was 72.3%.[3]


The holding of elections was the idea of Shimon Peres, who hoped to establish moderate local leadership in the West Bank that would accept his idea of autonomy.[2] The elections were held under an amended version of the 1955 Jordanian electoral law, which granted the right to vote to all Palestinians over the age of 21,[2] the law having previously restricted the franchise to male property owners.[3] The changes in the franchise were opposed by Jordan, citing the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stated that an occupying power should maintain the status quo in any occupied territories", although the PLO supported the reform.[1]


The elections saw a change in demographic of the elected politicians; 67% were under 50 compared to 40% in the 1972 elections.[4] The proportion of white-collar workers also increased from 20% to 40%.[4] Fourteen of the 24 elected mayors were new to office.[1]

City Elected mayor
Beit Jala Bshara Daoud
Beit Sahour Hanna Atrash
Bethlehem Elias Freij
al-Bireh Ibrahim Taweel
Gaza Rashad al-Shawa
Halhul Mohammed Milhim
Hebron Fahd Qawasmeh
Jenin Ahmed Camal A Sadi
Jericho Abdul Aziz Swaiti
Nablus Bassam Shakaa
Qalqilya Amin Nasser
Ramallah Karim Khalaf
Tulkarm Hilmi Hanun
Source: Lukacs,[4] JTA,[3] ARIJ[1]


Mohammed Milhim and Fahd Qawasmeh were deported by the Israeli authorities in 1980, whilst eight other mayors were removed from office in 1982.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d 40 Years of Israeli Occupation Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem
  2. ^ a b c Yehuda Lukacs (1999) Israel, Jordan, and the Peace Process, Syracuse University Press, p141
  3. ^ a b c Pro-plo, Communist Sweep in West Bank Elections: 72.3% of Eligible Voters. Including Women, Particip JTA, 13 April 2013
  4. ^ a b c Lukacs, p144
  5. ^ Lukacs, p145