The New PA Constitution
Excerpts of the Draft
By Itamar Marcus

Introduction:
The Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al Ayyam published excerpts from the proposed constitution.  Some notable points:

Jerusalem is the Palestinian capital. 
Palestinian refugees' “return” and their right to compensation is addressed.
A legislative council exclusively aiding Palestinians in so called “exile” is to be set up.
Different border options are suggested.
Principles of Islamic Sharia law are to form the primary basis of legislation.



Following are excerpts from the draft:
“…There will be two legislative councils, one of which will represent the Palestinians in exile…

…The emphasis will focus upon the Palestinian refugees and their right to compensation for what has been stolen from them, including land and property, as well as for their suffering… And the Palestinian state will monitor the implementation of these rights as sanctioned by international law…
The proposal offers several versions regarding the boundaries of a Palestinian state.

In the fourth clause it is written,
“An independent Palestinian state that has full sovereignty and territorial continuity, which will not be divided up within its recognized borders. It will be supported by international recognition as expressed through all United Nations resolutions on this matter. Anyone within these borders will be subject to Palestinian law and no other.”
Another proposal is worded as follows:
“They [the borders-] will be determined according to the will of the Palestinian people along the lines of what international law dictates for all peoples in similar situations regarding territorial land, waters and airspace. This will be in accordance with international law, and its territory will be continuous without any divisions in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, within the borders that existed just before their occupation by Israel on 5th June 1967. There will be no compromises on this, and the state will effect their return through the legitimate means that were established by international law and UN resolutions regarding other nations.”
A third proposal is:
“It is suggested that no borders should be specified, because most legal systems around the world do not determine the borders of a state according to law.”
In the sixth clause of the council’s constitution, it states:
“The Arabic language is the state’s official language, and Islam is its official national religion. The major religions will be respected, and the state will guarantee to maintain the sanctity of religious sites.”
Subsequently it is written in the seventh clause,
“The principles of Islamic Sharia law will form the primary basis of legislation. (There is also the suggested addition of, “according to legislation that will be instituted by the legislative council.”)

…It is forbidden to exile any Palestinian from his homeland, and handing over any Palestinian to a foreign country is also prohibited, unless it is under the terms of a valid agreement with the Palestinian state. In clause 35 it is written, “A Palestinian may not be extradited for political crimes, but it is permissible to hand over any foreign political exile…”

The headquarters of the legislative council will be situated in the capital of the Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, and it will be able to assemble in any other place that it decides upon.

… A law of general mobilization will be introduced under which all of the national forces will be conscripted for the protection of the homeland and the rights of its citizens…”
[Al Ayyam,  January 20, 2003]