Palestinian Constitutionalism: A Stalled Project (2020)


The drafting and the adoption of a Basic Law for the Palestinian Authority was a drawn-out and laborious process. This written constitution was an achievement: Palestinian political representatives had endorsed the pillars of Constitutionalism, reproducing this commitment within a single written document. This was a single instance of a wider global phenomenon which is referenced in the literature as written constitutionalism.

The expectations that had been invested into the Basic Law when it entered into force soon evaporated. I will suggest that the enthusiasm for a written constitution should be understood with reference to the symbolic appeal of specific principles and values. After presenting written constitutionalism, I will then attempt to demonstrate that political practice preceded the entrenchment of rules and institutions necessary for constitutionalism. Finally, I will argue that written Constitutionalism in Palestine has stalled, losing its momentum and impetus.  

Keywords: Written Constitutionalism, Palestine, Basic Law, Rule of Law, Constitutional Law.

Asem Khalil. Palestinian Constitutionalism: A Stalled Project. In: Journal of Constitutional Law in the Middle East and North Africa, issue 1, pp. 4-26 (2020).

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